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By Alan Ng | April 29, 2020

Whenever a fight breaks out between the two, Amirali talks it out with his gang of dudes as well as Shabnam with her gal friends. Amirali’s crew get into feminism, and male emasculation and Shabnam’s circle discuss the life of a fetus along with choice and her career. Back and forth, on and off, this is the nature of the relationship of Amirali and Shabnam.

As a film, Pendulum is far from perfect. The acting is not the greatest, though the leads Naeim Jebeli and Heila Imany are quite convincing as a couple, and their conflict feels authentic. The dialogue can feel like an afterschool special, where exposition is used to cover a few plot holes. The sound is also problematic with volume inconsistencies and annoying ambient sounds, particularly in office settings.

“…everyone expressed their opinions without fear of the consequences for the words…no one got #cancelled…”

What I enjoyed about Pendulum is the conversation about matters of life and death and how an immigrant’s cultural background comes into conflict with their new homeland. Whether the subject was abortion, feminism, the environment, or culture, everyone expressed their opinions without fear of the consequences for the words that flowed out of their mouths. In other words, no one got #cancelled for expressing an opinion. In fact, like the human beings that we are, those opinions changed as often as the circumstances changed. I kept thinking to myself, how are these characters able to say what they’re saying without immediately getting shut down. Oh yeah, they’re friends. I forgot.

Films, like Pendulum, are the reason Film Threat exists. It’s easy to pass on movies because their loglines or synopsis are not attractive. We can also be turned off quickly by less-than-perfect production values and acting, but films like Pendulum often have cinematic gems buried deep, deep down within its frames.

Pendulum (2020)

Directed and Written: Mostafa Azizi, Amir Ganjavie

Starring: Naeim Jebeli, Helia Imany, Golshad Moradi, Azad Imanirad, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Pendulum Image

"…often have cinematic gems buried deep, deep down within its frames."

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