The Hunter (15)

Starring: Rafi Pitts,Mitra Hajjar

A small film with large implications. The writer-director Rafi Pitts plays Ali, a brooding ex-con who works as a security guard in a Tehran car plant, condemned to the night shift on account of his having been in jail (we never discover his crime).

His solace is his wife (Mitra Hajjar) and six-year-old daughter, and when tragedy strikes the family Ali conceives a reckless plan of revenge on the authorities that allowed it to happen. Unfolding against a backdrop of choked motorways and industrial squalor, Pitts' film tests the mood of present-day Iran and finds much to deplore: callous bureaucracy, political bullying and a police force mired in corruption and ineptitude. After a sudden flurry of action the final section turns into a quasi-chamber piece about crime and punishment, at odds with the slow-burn study of personal anguish that occupies its first hour. As a writer Pitts doesn't fit the pieces together, but his saturnine presence as the star is very watchable.