The mix of Panahi and Kiarostami's talents and styles works so well. It's less didactic than some of Panahi's stuff but typically colorful and dark. As in a lot of Kiarostami films, a significant chunk of the action involves driving (in this case a motorcyle) around the streets of Tehran but doesn't have any of Kiarostami's normal redemption, uplift of self-reflexivity.
One of the only slightly humorous scenes occurs when Hussein gets blind drunk in the apartment of a wealthy Iranian-American wherein he makes himself at home per his hosts request, swimming in his pool fully clothed then taking in the sights of the Tehran's skyline at night. The lights flicker, the stars twinkle, cars hiss quietly for what seems like several minutes and then Hussein lets rip a violent belch. Other than that, the film is so bleak that it's almost humorous. I don't like to compare filmmakers much but Crimson Gold is like watching Takeshi Kitano playing Strozseck. Sorry, I had to do it. Somewhere Ian Curtis watched it and hanged himself all over again.