Sheeple | Chicago Reader

Sheeple

Houman Seyyedi’s criminal underworld drama is the most brutal Iranian feature I’ve seen, not only because of its bloody street brawls, but because of the emotional violence the characters inflict on each other. The film’s antihero is a dimwitted midlevel drug dealer who was taken in by a prosperous gang when he was a boy. When he isn’t meting out punishment to those who have offended his crime family, he’s keeping a close eye on his adopted sister, who’s been compromised by a viral video that shows her taking off her veil to reveal her hair to a potential suitor. Seyedi plunges viewers into the gritty milieu, shooting handheld to foster an air of nervous tension—it feels as though one of the characters will go off at any given time. The subjects are so unlikable that I had trouble caring about what happened to them, but this is still an eye-opening portrait of a part of Iranian society that almost never appears in the national cinema. In Farsi with subtitles.

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