|Running time:||134 minutes|
|Release date:||14 march 2019|
This year, the Reims Polar Festival allowed us to discover eighteen films out of the twenty-one proposed. Some of them are easily the favorites, such as Boite noire by Yann Gozlan, which deserved the audience prize, but also a film that arrived late in France, Just 6.5, which was very well received in various festivals around the world. The second film written and directed by Saeed Roustayi after Abad va yek rooz (2016) won the Grand Prix and the Critics' Choice Award. It is a relentless thriller and above all a film that shows a meticulous direction that does not leave the audience any moment for breath. Mission all the more successful as it is an Iranian film and does not benefit from the same facilities as the films from the current Hollywood studios. One suspects that an American remake would be long in coming, as the story told here judiciously puts two men in opposition to each other.
It is interesting to see that a film like Just 6.5 seems to follow in the footsteps of William Friedkin's excellent film French connection (1971). In both films we find at the center of the story a cop ready to do anything to get his hands on a powerful drug lord and we find here the same will to remain credible at all times. The police are looking for a drug lord named Naser Khakzad, but when they finally manage to catch him, he does everything in his power to escape and save his family. Although the plot itself is nothing new, it is Saeed Roustaee's treatment and perfectly mastered script that makes The Law of Tehran (Just 6.5) an instant classic and a film of incredible strength.
In a country like Iran the possession of drugs whether it is 30 grams or kilos remains the same, the penalty is death by hanging. In this poor country drugs have become a real scourge and the American title of the film alludes to the 6.5 million drug addicts. While corruption seems to be everywhere and people are forced to become simple drug carriers or dealers in order to survive, the law enforcement agencies seem to have a hard time enforcing the law and not falling into an omnipresent corruption.
The great strength of Just 6.5 is that it takes a quasi-documentary approach to a country that is in turmoil and in which the forces of law and order do not have to be afraid to have their hands out to put powerful criminals out of action. Saeed Roustaee's screenplay finds the perfect approach in giving real depth to its main characters while delivering some spectacular or striking scenes like this introductory scene of the film. While Inspector Samad (Payman Maadi) and his team have to make arrest after arrest to trace a powerful caid Naser Khakzad (Navid Mohammadzadeh) whose information is very rare.
In some ways, Just 6.5 reminds us of those great American films of the 70s that were not afraid to show reality as it is with its many imperfections, focusing on a society with many castes in which some mobsters with enormous resources enjoy considerable influence. We will think of the shadow of directors like Brian de Palma and Alan Parker and we will think that the young director Saeed Roustaee has the makings of a great director in the making and we are looking forward to his new film.
Written and directed by Saeed Roustaee
Produced by Seyed Jamal Sadatian & Mohammad Sadegh Ranjkeshan
Starring Payman Maadi, Navid Mohammadzadeh, Hooman Kiaie, Parinaz Izadyar, Farhad Aslani, Maziar Seyedi, Ali Bagheri
Music by Payman Yazdanian
Director of photography: Hooman Behmanesh
Editing: Bahram Dehghani
Distribution: Wild Bunch (France)
Release date: July 28, 2021 (France)
Seen on May 29 2021 (Festival Reims Polar)