The Mission (1983) Poster

(1983)

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The moral struggle of figuring out for yourself how to tread the path of righteousness
AbuAhzan26 February 2003
Parviz Sayyad, a popular comic director in Iran before the revolution, had to leave his homeland and wound up in America with no funds to pursue his cinematic art. Somehow he scraped together the shoestring to get this one filmed, fortunately. It's a brilliant, compelling examination of what it means to follow your ideals, after you find out that everything you thought was wrong.

A young Iranian arrives in New York. He is a quiet, serious, pious Muslim. His orders: find the ex-SAVAK officer and kill him. While trailing the ex-SAVAK officer in New York's subway, he accidentally meets him face to face while helping him escape muggers. From his pocket falls the Qur'an with Persian translation. The ex-SAVAK officer picks it up and sees the Persian writing. Hey! You're from Iran too, what a coincidence, we must become friends! They do, in fact, become friends. The pious young Muslim assassin finds out that the ex-SAVAK officer is a nice guy, not a bad guy after all. He has two cute kids, and they love their new uncle from Iran (the assassin). How he can find it in his heart to kill this nice guy? Meanwhile he makes ablution and prays in his cockroachy apartment. The assassination commander tries to call him on the phone, but he does not answer so as not to interrupt his prayer. The assassination commander comes to see him, saying "Why don't you answer the phone? Praying? Oh, you are so pious" -- while he guzzles beer! So the young assassin faces a dilemma: he wanted to serve Islam, but he is forced to confront the question of where is real Islam -- in the revolution? Or in his heart? Then he is not sure what he should really do. The tragic ending is wrenching indeed.

This movie is made with heart and sympathy, about discovering moral ambiguity in one's own soul. An excellent view of the spiritual problems with the Iranian revolution made by an expatriate with no resources but his wit and his heart. If you ever get a chance to see it, don't miss it.
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10/10
Wonderful, intriguing drama, suspense and character ftw!
jmydgeek14 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this in an art house when it came out and it has stayed with me. Strong characterization, great, believable performances, neat twists and a healthy dose of truth. Ultimately, nobility is an individual thing. Bureaucracy and power are corrupting. I loved how human everybody was. It also gave a valuable look at what went into the Iranian Revolution, and shows what has gone sour there recently. I have no doubt that the majority of SAVAK employees deserve execution. Lots of the basiji that replaced them deserve it, too. Cue "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who...This is a gem, well worth seeing for its naturalistic, believable presentation.
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