Peyman Moaadi (A Separation, The Night Of) stars alongside Navid Muhammadzadeh (Life and a Day) in this Iranian crime story about drug trades and the harrowing law that follows in Just 6.5 by Saeed Roustayi. Starting out with a fast-paced, neatly choreographed alley chase and concluding with a bone-chilling, man-cry ordeal, Roustayi’s clear-cut action thriller with open-ended morality doesn’t want to give peace in the audiences’ mind—with bitter, almost sympathetic feeling lingers after almost every important conclusion in this story. With slick set pieces that draw comparisons to Hollywood’s finest ones blended in with close observations of Iranian law system, making a referential gesture to political crime movie like Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, this is the kind of crime movie that won’t let go even after the credit rolls.
Moaadi is Samad Majidi, a chief detective tasked for the Iranian narcs. He seems like one of the finest in the department; but, that doesn’t make him a tad too flawless. Many of the operations leave sour feeling to the narcs with case reports oftentimes bring sophistications than justice. The outcome of each drug bust operation sometimes brings frictions between the cops as well—some feels morally obliged; some feels challenged. The fact that Iran has one of the fiercest law for their drug war campaign (along with Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, Iran are infamous of mercilessly execute drug traffickers) doesn’t make matters any easier for everyone. A long history of corruption and dishonesty brings distrusts between each department and individual—between cops and cops or the court. In Samad’s case, any indication of mishandlings in the case might harm his reputation, career, and professional relation, especially with his comrade, Hamid (Houman Kiai). In results, you will once again see Moaadi delves into a full-on, word-spitting persona in most scenes involving him—whether Samad is arguing or manipulating.
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On the opposite end of the operation is a drug lord, Nasser Khakzad (Muhammadzadeh), whose drug empire is in the brink of fall when Samad’s operation locates him. From the moment the police finds him, Nasser exudes complicated reasoning in his actions. When he’s arrested and put into an overcrowded cell with lowly criminals—some are related to his empire, the kingpin would finally try anything to get him out of the prison, which, as he knows pretty well, will lead to his demise. The kingpin’s character is just as complicated and as ambiguous as the chief detective. When they’re together in one scene, energy doesn’t seem to be lacking even after some frustrating moments or heartbreaking ones. Moaadi and Mohammadzadeh play their part of the pole poignantly even when the plot often pulls over to ponder and reflect on the system.
There seems to be surplus of energy in this thriller about drug trades and the main actors make sure the audiences feel the energy right on their faces. Electrifying and fast-paced during the first half, the energy is channeled through precise car-and-mouse action thriller. A moment before the second half kicks in, Just 6.5 takes a moment to ponder and, somehow, flips the switch that converts the exploding energy into a more dramatic one. At first, the switch seems uneven but when the energy is fully converted into a series of dramatic, the harrowingly heartbreaking ending seals the forlorn deal.