The second feature from director Mohammad Rasoulof, Iron Island,               
 is set almost entirely on an abandoned oil tanker moored in the Persian
 Gulf. The residents are outcasts in Iranian society, the Bandari --
 who are an Arab minority that are predominantly Sunni Muslims.
 Leading them like a modern day Noah (or perhaps even Moses) is
 Captain Nemat (portrayed by noted Iranian actor Ali Nasirian.)

         Many of the residents are poor and rely on the Captain for pretty
 much everything. He oversees the ship like a benevolent dictator, doling
 out credit for needed items, overseeing the stripping of the ship for raw
 materials that can be sold (whether it be oil from the hold or metal from
 the skeleton). Nemat has taken a young orphan Ahmad (Hossein
 Farzi-Zadeh) under his wing, but as with any archetypal story the two
 must clash. In this case, it is over a young woman with whom Ahmad
 has entered into a clandestine relationship. The problem is that Nemat
 has arranged her marriage to a wealthy older man. Eventually, Ahmad
 rebels and attempts to escape from this floating city, but he is caught
 and must face Nemat who metes out a cruel justice because, in his
 mind, otherwise there would be chaos.

         Nemat also faces more immediate problems that are twofold:  the
 ship is slowly sinking, and more pressingly, the owners have decided
 to scrap the vessel forcing the relocation of all the "tenants."

         Rasoulof has created a remarkable allegory, although there are
 moments that do drag. But there are also more memorable scenes.
IRON ISLAND is as much about the indomitable human spirit and
 one leaves it feeling hopeful despite the multitude of problems the
 characters have encountered.

                                   Rating:                 B+
                                   Running time:     90 mins

                                 Viewed at
New Directors/New Films
Iron Island
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.