Film Movement – Year 11 Film 6: Till Schauder’s “The Iran Job”

ElaheKevthree-stars15Sports fan or not, this documentary of an American basketball player (Kevin Sheppard) playing in an Iranian basketball league, (yes, they play basketball in Iran) lives up to its promise of being an intriguing watch.

Aside from getting paid a healthy amount of money for playing ball in a country nobody wants to play in, Sheppard also gets the benefit of broadening his mind on how other cultures foreign to his own live. We too get access to this insight, even if it’s by means of manipulated edits to try to make culture clashing situations appear to be more serious than they actually are. The same can be said for when the film’s focus shifts towards the on-the-court drama of watching Sheppard deal with the pressure of having to lead his underdog team to their first ever playoffs.

Perhaps knowing that there is almost always an inherent amount of suspense to be had in any given sporting event, especially close games, and even more especially if spun the right way, as is so often done during the Olympics, director Till Schauder spins his subject’s on court and off court going ons with all the care and precision of seasoned vet.

Now, even though this film touches on just about every cliché that one would find in a live action Disney sports film, e.g., the on-the-court underdog story, the off-the-court friendships, and cultural differences being addressed, the easy to predict trajectory of where the film winds up going was still enjoyable to watch unfold. A lot of this enjoyability factor comes from having the charismatic Sheppard as the central figure as well as having an editor with a keen eye for what entertains, as the talented David Teague‘s no doubt has.


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