Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Richard James Havis
    90
    A flawlessly executed character study.
  2. It's a troubling, courageous, compulsively watchable work of art.
  3. An engrossing tale of class differences that reveals tiny details of one man’s descent into hell.
  4. 100
    This is the first beautiful performance in the year's first great movie.
  5. 75
    The success of Crimson Gold depends to an intriguing degree on the performance of its leading actor, a large, phlegmatic man.
  6. Another excellent example of how Iranian cinema uses deceptively simple techniques to decode devastating truths about human nature.
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    60
    Though it unfolds like a thriller, it's ultimately a tragedy.
  8. 83
    As with many Iranian films, reality and fiction collide (the lead actor really is a pizza deliveryman), and the moral of the story is a surprisingly blunt critique of the growing inequality of wealth in the slowly Westernizing nation.
  9. 100
    Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold is an anti-blockbuster--a deceptively modest undertaking that brilliantly combines unpretentious humanism and impeccable formal values.
  10. 90
    Provides one of the rare glimpses of the upper class to come out of recent Iranian cinema--the last one in memory was 1996's exquisite, Ibsen-esque melodrama "Leila"--and director Jafar Panahi (The Circle) captures it vividly through his hero's wounded obsession.
  11. Kiarostami's brilliantly suggestive script, which is quite unlike anything else he's written and is marred only slightly by one of his obligatory sages turning up gratuitously near the beginning.
  12. Through everyday actions and gestures -- in Hussein's awkward exchanges with other people, in his tender fumbling of his fiancée's purse -- Panahi shows a man for whom life has become increasingly arduous, alien. The filmmaker captures, in other words, what Bresson called "the force in the air before the storm."
  13. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    80
    Succeeds as a universal account of frustration applicable to any urban center where the gap between haves and have-nots is tauntingly visible.
  14. Unfolds with a marvelously understated humanism.
  15. Not a great film, but a good one.
  16. The occasional obviousness of the film's themes is more than balanced by the subtlety of its methods and by the stolid, irreducible individuality of its protagonist, Hussein.
  17. Watching it is like getting a peek behind the curtain. But it's frustrating, too, because the casting of Emadeddin as a murderer-in-the-making precludes any psychological depth. And as an indictment of social inequality, which is the film's calling card, Panahi inadvertantly makes a far better case for the haves than for the have-nots.
  18. A stark, minimalist near-masterpiece about the creation of a murderer in modern Iran.
  19. As in "Taxi Driver," the protagonist is a damaged war veteran, an invisible man who travels about the city and internalizes its contradictions until he explodes.
  20. It settles into the typical reflective mode of Iranian films, but something IS happening: A human being is slowly, sullenly, silently approaching his combustion point.
  21. Crimson Gold has been likened to an Iranian "Taxi Driver," but it's nothing of the sort, though it is powerful in a quiet, minimalist way.
  22. There's a subtlety to Crimson Gold that deserves applause.
  23. A fable of money as the root of jealousy, discord, violence, but the film's slippery fascination as sociological exposé is the flip side of its thinness as drama.
  24. An extraordinary film in many ways, the least of which is its unorthodox casting.
  25. 80
    The result is the work of a funereal yet darkly funny neorealist, sounding the rallying cry against the inflexible maxim casually delivered by one of his own film's characters.
  26. 70
    Its characters are no different from the rest of us, in the cluster of their annoyances and kicks, yet utterly removed from us by a system that frowns upon ordinary desire. Jafar Panahi's movie, unsurprisingly, has been outlawed in Iran. Nobody likes a prophet. [19 January 2004, p. 93]

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