Journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s non-fiction bestseller documented a horrific capital punishment under Sharia law in 1986 Iran. This US-made film adaptation reconstructs the same case, when an innocent woman was stoned to death based on the false claims of her husband and complicit local mullah, and argues that such practices continue today. To call this an emotive subject is an understatement, but for all its laudable intentions, the film lets its eagerness to stoke up indignation get the better of any sober study of lynch-mob mentality. Creating such obvious male villains results in a ‘bad apple’ analysis which weakens the impact, while the stoning sequence goes beyond dramatic heightening into lip-smacking spectacle. Shohreh Aghdashloo gives a persuasive performance as the widow trying to protect unjustly accused Soraya (Mozhan Marnò), yet the film’s limited (but not ineffective) approach equates winning arguments with pushing buttons.