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Slow pacing dims 'Twilight'

Tempo overshadows the stunning climax of a mystery solved and a poignant performance from one of Iran's veteran performers.

August 22, 2003|Kevin Thomas | Times Staff Writer

Ezzatollah Entezami is a distinguished star of the Iranian cinema, and Hassan Hedayat's "Twilight" affords him the kind of major role that all too rarely falls to older actors. This makes it all the more unfortunate that the film is so needlessly plodding, undercutting a highly charged and beautiful climactic sequence.

Entezami's near 70-year-old police inspector Alavi is a weary man who is beginning to feel the effect of dealing in the course of his work and life with death. He feels overcome by a sense of his own mortality and loneliness and is alternately shaken and comforted by a series of imagined encounters with his beloved, beautiful wife Farangis (Ghaziani), who died early in their marriage.

Impinging upon his disturbed state of mind is his latest case, that of a corpse of a murdered elderly woman, a drug addict, washed up on the beach. In her possession is a small photograph, a headshot of a young woman; on its back is written Alavi's home phone number. There's no mystery as to who her killer is, but there is much to unravel as to the identity of the woman -- and what connection she apparently had with Alavi. The nature of such an investigation inevitably heightens Alavi's feeling of already being overwhelmed by the past.

Stocky, with a thick shock of steel-gray hair, Entezami is a commanding presence, an effortlessly skillful and resourceful actor with deeply expressive eyes. His increasingly tormented Alavi is a highly poignant figure; with a brisker pace "Twilight" might well have been worthy of him.



MPAA rating: Unrated

Times guidelines: Complex mature themes

Ezzatollah Entezami...Mohammad Alavi

Ahmad Najafi...Darbandi

Behnaz Moharrar...Hajar Hengameh


An Iranian Film Society and N.E.J. International Pictures presentation of an Ima Film production. Writer-director-editor Hassan Hedayat. Cinematographer Hossein Maleki. Music Hassan Zandbaf. In Farsi, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.

Exclusively at Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 274-6869.

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