Fifth about The Seventh

Holy Spider (Ankabut-e Moqaddas)

Holy Spider: Ali Abbasi’s film follows the “investigation”, full quotes, of a serial killer who killed prostitutes in Iran. It’s not hard to think that in a country as profoundly religious and sexist, a man who was cleaning the streets of lost women would be seen by some as a folk hero and, therefore, protected by, at the very least, a disinterested investigation. The film splits its time between the real-life killer and the fictional female journalist interested in the case; their rivalry is clichéd and feels a bit tacked on. The two central performances are solid: Zar Amir-Ebrahimi plays the young journalist, who knows from firsthand experience what sexism feels like, and has as much a no-nonsense attitude as possible; Mehdi Bajestani plays with clarity the worst type of villain, one that believes in the righteousness of his mission because he sees is as a holy duty. All the implications of that are hair-raising. The film moves along well, thanks to the efficient editing by Olivia Neergaard-Holm and Hayedeh Safiyari.

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