A practicing dentist and rising literary writer, Hamed Esmaeilion is just like many Canadians who spends most of his time in Zoom meetings. Of course, there are things that make him different. Coming from Iran, he has the statistical stroke of bad luck of having relatives who died in the Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 that blew up near Tehran months before the pandemic. Specifically, he lost his wife Parisa and daughter Reera on that ‘accident,’ two of the hundreds of Iranian Canadian who died during that flight. The Zoom meetings he attends have a lot to do with pleading to whoever’s in charge to start a full international investigation to prosecute the Iranian military officials who ordered the missile strike on a plane full of civilians.
Babak Payami’s 752 Is Not A Number follows Esmaeilion inside and outside of his office. Inside, he collaborates with the RCMP, giving them information he gathers from low level sources. The camera captures the undertones of his frustration with a government he thinks isn’t doing enough. Outside, he flies a few times to two different places, Iran and The Ukraine, to follow up whether those governments are doing enough – Iran isn’t. Some sound choices make this occasionally feel like a thriller doc, which, in fairness, it kind of is and it’s understandable that Payami isn’t trying to reinvent a subgenre. Otherwise, Esmaeilion’s sincerity and emotion and political will strike the right tones to makes viewers feel for him and his struggle to find the truth.