Close Up tells of a real life story, and that is the interesting part. The other interesting part is that it features the actual people involved with the story, and it even shows footage of the real events. Then about halfway through the story becomes not so interesting anymore. I haven't seen a story like this though, and haven't even heard of someone pulling something like this off even for a small length of time though.
Summary: Hossain Sabzian enters a family's home claiming that he is director, Mohsen Makmalbaf, and that he has chosen there home to be the setting of his next movie. The family welcomes him into their home loving the idea that their home has been chosen. Until news break that he isn't who he said he was. With real life footage from his trial in the courtroom blended with interviews of the family, and an reenactment of the day he was arrested this movie is thrown together with surreal and documentary style images.
Acting: The characters do a good job at how they play themselves in their respective roles. Mohsen Makmabaf was the one impersonated and gives an interesting appearance as the man who was posing as himself. Hossain Sabzian is difficult to determine when he is on screen and not, because he really does look like the guy he pretended to be. The real family also talks with the journalist about what happened, and allows him to put together the day he was caught at their house. The thing is there is much to the element of acting outside the documentary style happening.
Filming: The movie does a good job of blending the real moments from the trial and the footage caught as the director is directing well. Many won't tell a difference in between the two except for the slight grain difference that happens. What is interesting for the first 30 minutes is how we are caught in this odd story, but then it wears off. The movie is very sharp and crisp for the 90's.
Plot: The plot becomes less prominent as the movie goes along. I like how it begins with the journalist travelling to the home where the occurrence happened, and found it interesting all the way up to the trial begins, but once so much talking happens I found myself beginning to zone out. It could just not maintain my attention. I kept trying to hold on to keep up with what was happening to at least found out what happened to the guy who was posing as someone else. What is interesting though is why this guy did what he did. He doesn't claim to do it to rob them or take advantage of their kindness. So is he mentally ill or something else? Or is he lying about his motives?
Had Close Up stuck more to a documentary vibe movie I would have enjoyed it more. It does veer off into a more artsy direction in the aspects of being someone else and analyzing the more personal reasons for this guy's motives. Besides these elements it's interesting to look inside the culture and how they dealt with the matter, but after a while it just lulls.
Rating 4 of 10.