1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Possibly 3.5 stars,
This review is from: Offside [DVD] (DVD)
I got this based on the favourable reviews and the fact that all of my friends who had heard of it said that it is reckoned to be very good.
The plot is excessively simple in that a group of disparate young girls want to see the Iran World Cup 2006 qualifier against Bahrain. Women are not allowed to sporting events lest they hear some swearing from the over excited men. The girls therefore adopt a number of less than believable disguises in order to get in. The match is being `policed' by army conscripts who manage to detect a number of them and coral them out of sight but within ear shot of the match. Tension is continually ramped up by the on field antics, as described by some of the guards and the crowd reaction.
Jafar Panahi has done an excellent job of getting around the censors in order to make this and it does come across as believable (sadly it was banned in Iran) even for a non football lover like myself. However, it does not diminish the totalitarian approach the state has and peoples attitudes to accepting the straight jacket of conformity that is required. Jafar actually was inspired to make this after his daughter decided she wanted to attend the match herself.
The performances are all good or excellent, but then there is little to stretch in such a simplistic plot and the humour is incidental and not `hilarious' as the cover note says. If you are interested in world cinema then this should be on your list, but a rollicking adventure full of high jinx and laughs this most certainly is not. Ultimately it does have a feel good factor in the ending as Iran beats Bahrain (now part of history) and as such is a metaphor for uniting the country. The toilet scenes were particularly interesting as a lot of the graffiti is in English keep an eye out for a scrawled `Metalica', I really liked such human touches.