Honour. 2014. Directed & Written by Shan Khan.
Starring Aiysha Hart, Paddy Considine, Faraz Ayub, Shubham Saraf, Harvey Virdi, and Nikesh Patel. Code Red.
Not Rated. 104 minutes.
There are several reasons why I really enjoyed Shan Khan’s Honour. First, Paddy Considine. He is a fine actor, as well as director, but here it’s really put to the test. He plays a highly unlikable man for most of the feel, though we do see him become someone else through the process. Second, the script is really fantastic; it’s edgy, raw, there is grit to the themes within. Essentially, the story is about a young British Muslim girl who is targeted for honour killing after her brothers discover she plans to run off with a young Punjabi man. After their attempts to reel her in slowly come to a drastic and failed end, the family, along with the mother, hire a bounty hunter in London to track her down, and it just so happens he is a racist; though for a racist, he certainly knows the culture, even their language, well.In a day and age where there is a lot of conflict over extremists and fundamentalists in various religions around the world, I can imagine it was tough to make a film about Muslims and honour killing. The film is a tough one in every respect. At times it is brutal, violent, messy. Other times it comes across as a great crime thriller. The script is tense. The story is told on film in a non-linear fashion, giving us a look at what led to the family’s decision to kill the daughter. Khan did a great job with the script, plus it translated well to screen.
The acting came top notch here. I was very impressed with Aiysha Hart who played Mona, the young girl on the run from her own family, as well as Faraz Ayub and Shubham Saraf who played her brothers. Considine was absolutely incredible though, and it’s his performance which truly shines above all else. The look and feel of the film was gritty, something I always enjoy. How everything looked, dark and sort of grim, really fit the subject matter and the tone of the film.
All in all I have to give the film a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Everything worked together to create a really wonderful film.
The message is presented through Considine’s character. In the beginning, he is truly racist; he hates Muslims, any person of colour. Even though he deals with Muslims, he seems to have a disdain for them. He has white supremacist ink on his body, including an Aryan tattoo, which he later tries to singe off. By the end, after he has come to see the inner workings of the extremist Muslim circles and he sees his own behaviour mirrored in their fundamentalist, violent beliefs. Through others and their hatred, the character understands his own, or better yet he comes to reject it, understanding it is only hate, it is nothing but thoughts and misconceptions and foolish notions.
A must-see film. I highly recommend it. I don’t give it a full 5 stars, only because I felt there was something missing. Perhaps a little more of the past behind Considine’s character, though we get bits and pieces, would have made it a perfect film. Regardless, it’s still an incredible movie. It inspires hope, that people who hate can turn around, somehow, some way.