Ahmadzadeh has said he’s intentionally divided his film into two parts, real and surreal, but the shift entails losing everything that Atom Heart Mother had going for it in its first half. Frustrating.
The film’s chief flaw is its copout of an ending, which disappoints to an even greater extent, considering the strength of what comes before; it plays as if Ahmadzadeh ran out of money, energy or both. Nevertheless, “Atom Heart Mother,” along with Shahram Mokri’s “Fish & Cat” (2014), represents an exciting example of Iranian independent filmmaking, one that inspires hope for the future.
The jump to fantasy, and saying anything more would ruin the surprise, but the movie makes a conscious step towards the realm of fiction instead of being a documented portrait of “youth today in Iran,” but without losing any of the momentum nor the need to portrait the same themes of the mixture of cultures and the social upheaval that sooner than later will overcome this country: a move that makes this film stand out from the rest and makes it maybe the weirdest entry of them all.