Immediately Dog Sweat starts off on a likable note. A couple of Iranian guys are secretly drinking alcohol and arguing the colors of the Johnny Walker brands. The conversation naturally gets distracted and ill-informed. Yet it had a lot of realism and fun to it.
The film works best when it has people talking like this. The dialog is consistently good throughout, but it almost has too much plot to handle. There are several different young men and women who intersect as they struggle with life and love. Having the setting in Iran makes that simple premise incredibly fresh. It’s fascinating how they deal with older cultural philosophies and the strain that puts on them.
The women, in particular, are the most interesting part. They are mostly seen as responses to the men in the relationships, but that doesn’t mean they are two-dimensional. They are self-aware about the positions they are in and what they are truly able to do.
The whole movie is plotted like a soap opera, but this is better produced and acted. If they had established the characters a bit better at the beginning, it would be easier to follow them through their stories. Instead it is never as emotional as it could be.
Despite being set in Iran, it isn’t as political as it could be. The film is never preachy, but curious as it looks at certain situations. The curiosity is enough to always push the movie forward in a brisk fashion that shows people know what they are doing. Even though this one has its minor flaws, writer/director Hossein Keshavarz is a storyteller that I would be very curious to see his next film. Especially if he sticks with similar territory with another set of stories because there is no way Iran is as overdone as New York City. This is still a fresh take on a familiar genre.