Filmmakers often use close-up shots at low angles for some emotionally wrenching moments, but a short long shot of several people throwing stones at a prosthetic figure depicting Soraya in the background as the mayor looks away were equally traumatic. Men sent to assist at the event and set up the area provide some haunting moments, while the hurtful family betrayal and rippling effects impact even more than the main stoning sequence, which is well represented in the strong bonus features.
Audiences get some excellent views into the daily production challenges during this film shot at an undisclosed location in an Arab country in the Middle East. Great filmmaking aspects and authentic depictions showcase the talents as the cast and crew wrestle with pertinent questions ranging from “how far do we go?” to “how could people do this?” Marnò even kids around a little to release some tension in the "completion" part of the three-part “making of” featurette, but it really shows how the subject matter deeply connects and even stresses this group. The beginning "inspiration" and middle "production" parts complete the considerable 43-minute “making of” featurette.
The two audio optional commentaries on the feature film provide great insight. The first commentary offers personal intentions along with behind-the-scenes tribulations as Cyrus and Betsy Nowrasteh really explain their actions and emotions clearly. The second commentary option features four people, line producer Stephen A. Marinaccio II, production designer Judy Rhee, costume designer Jane Anderson, and costume supervisor Sierra Robinson, who describe more about the shooting challenges and depicted realism in every aspect in front of the camera. This commentary track injects a bit more humor into the explanations while their expertise really enhances the experience.
The widescreen format (2.35:1 aspect ratio) highlights the considerable filmmaking skills while the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio really enhances the documentary-style camera techniques, costumes, and set design for an experience that is hard to forget. The high quality sound also enhances the relaxed yet driving musical score from composer John Debney while drawing special attention to the authentic Iran’s native Farsi language track with English or Spanish subtitle options – a great achievement by the cast even though this film has been officially banned in Iran. Other bonus features include the theatrical preview. Highly recommended and rated R for brief strong language, domestic violence, and a disturbing sequence of cruel and brutal violence. Also available on Blu-ray.