The plot is incredibly simple for a feature-length film (albeit a rather short one). Also, it may not seem like a particularly original idea to people who've seen other Iranian films about a child who has to cope with a sometimes uncaring adult world while embarking on a journey to replace, return, or repair a missing item within a short time span. Indeed, the film's general premise fits in the tradition of neorealist films such as The Bicycle Thief, although this movie avoids complex moral issues in order to concentrate on the protagonist's race to complete his mission. But it's a testament to Mohammad Ali Talebi, Abbas Kiarostami, and the rest of the crew and cast that they have made such a compelling film out of such a slight plot. Perhaps it's because the protagonist is a likable child faced with an unreasonable and perhaps impossible task, or because he's engaged in a primal struggle against nature (for example, he has to carry a large pane of glass through a hilly countryside without breaking it). Perhaps it's because he is so tenacious in the face of such a difficult duty, or it's simply that the film is paced to milk every last bit of tension from this simple scenario without letting the story drag. In any case, this movie isn't quite up to the standard of Kiarostami's greatest work, but it is a compelling tale that makes you care about what happens to this unfortunate child. Winner of the Golden Elephant Award at the Bangkok Film Festival.
by Todd Kristel review