Magazine article Screen International

'The Charmer': Dubai Review

Magazine article Screen International

'The Charmer': Dubai Review

Article excerpt

An Iranian man seeking a Danish bride finds romance increasingly dark and complex.

The Charmer

Dir: Milad Alami. Den. 2017. 103mins

The title of Danish-based Iranian filmmaker Milas Alami’s debut film may well hint at a genial comedy or drama, but while this shrewdly structured film may well have the backdrop of a refugee desperately seeking a Danish passport by marrying a local woman it is no Green Card-style romp, instead it cleverly balances psychological thrills with astute drama, all driven by an engaging central performance by Ardalan Esmaili.

Director Alami offers a nuanced and deftly detailed glimpse into Scandinavia’s Iranian community, with the film ultimately striking because of its thematic complexity as much as its nicely structured storyline.

He plays Esmail, a good-looking Iranian expat in Copenhagen. He frequents high-end bars and clubs in the lookout for women. He may wear a nicely made suit, but in truth he lives hostels for immigrants, works as a furniture mover and that suit is the only one he has. He needs to get married to stay in the country and his time is limited.

On a certain level the story is the bleak and worryingly familiar tale of an immigrant trying to stay on in a new land, but The Charmer (Charmøren) morphs into a dark drama with hints of film noir, and while slowly paced Alami and Ingeborg Topsøe’s screenplay is always absorbing and intriguing. …

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