“Two people love each other, why can’t people be happy for them?
He’s Punjabi, Mona.
He’s Muslim, Adel.
Yeah, but that ain’t how it works.”
Occasionally you watch a movie with a rarely used (or abused) topic. No alien creatures threatening to destroy humanity, not another childish story about a post-apocalyptic world with a youngster as a liberator, not again cheap humor in a silly comedy with overstressed eager beaver, not an average action story with muscled guys or a horror with once again an evil spirit being driven out by using medieval rituals to the place where it came from. “Honour” is about honor killings.
Despite our modern society this ancient use is still applicable in some cultures. Especially in the Muslim communities they sometimes fall back on this custom. Mostly the targeted persons are those who ashamed their family and, believe it or not, these mad acts are justified by certain laws of Islam. In some countries the majority of perpetrators go unpunished like in Pakistan. It’s a despicable thought that there are hundreds of women being killed each year because they have violated the family honor. And that’s the starting point of this film.
“Honour” is a gray and depressing impression of the beautiful Mona (Aiysha Heart) whose life enters a gruesome cycle of violence after she began an affair with a Punjabi and therefore experiences the wrath of her primal conservative mother (Harvey Virdi). Mona’s mother (the similarity with the nasty witch from Hansel and Gretel is striking) and brother Kasim (Faraz Ayub) first try to take the law into their own hands. This goes wrong (in an incomprehensible way) and they hire a bounty hunter (Paddy Considine) to liquidate Mona.
You can call the performances of the actress Aiysha Hart and the other actors commendable. Persuasive and dedicated. A cast that does its utmost to realize a credible and realistic story. Considine plays a sublime character role. You can see the duality in his character evolving. From a cold blooded, racist assassin into a true understanding person who apparently still has a bit of humanity inside him. Despite these superb performances, the film still fails on several points. Apparently Shan Khan couldn’t really decide whether it should be a didactic documentary or a thriller. It’s not a documentary because the background of the problem is pretty vaguely presented and there’s hardly any explanation. For a thriller, there has been as much as no suspense. Also, the storyline was pretty confusing because of the constant use of time jumps and constantly viewing the same situation from a different viewpoint. The whole movie was like a Spaghetti Bolognaise: tasteful with a clew of storylines.
Despite being a low-budget film, “Honour” partly succeeded to convince. It throws some light on a mysterious and incomprehensible to our standards culture, where barbaric practices are still honored. All in all I thought it was a good movie and a must see, if only to conclude that unfortunately such practices are still part of our modern society. And despite the dark atmosphere, this film also shows a gentle side so there remains still a bit of hope. Technically, I thought the executed idea of the film being a loop, not unkind and creative.