Jafar Panahi’s Taxi works far better than it should. Panahi turns a mediocre HBO concept from the mid-1990’s into a compelling slice of life from a world where being expressive and creative just isn’t allowed, witnessing moments from life in all of its glory, splendour, and occasionally horror.
From the confines of his taxi cab, Panahi drives around the streets of Tehran picking up a wide array of strangers and friends on his journey and much like any good cab driver the results are very compelling. So much comes to light from the dashboard of a car in a place that we simply aren’t able to relate to here in the Western world. By evoking these stories out of his passengers, we get the rich and diverse mosaic of life in modern Iran that shows us how we all share some common root goals and values about the world that we live in.
Rarely can someone be directing while driving a car but Jafar Panahi’s Taxi brings back the magic of how much we can learn through the art of conversation. While he adjusts the camera a little bit here and there, it’s more about showing our genuine similarities and the things that can happen as a part of the human experience while exposing some genuine moments of life in Tehran.
It’s the kind of movie the sneaks up on you and will keep you talking about it long after the cab ride home.