When young British Muslim Mona (Aiysha Hart) falls in love with British Punjabi, Tanvir (Nikesh Patel), and plans to elope with him, her fiercely proud, traditional family, led by the family matriarch (Harvey Virdi), shamed by her actions and determined to maintain the honour of the family name, try to murder her. Surviving their attempts to kill her, she escapes, finding sanctuary in a women’s refuge in London.

Desperate to track her down, the family hire a former National Front thug turned bounty hunter (Paddy Considine) who specialises in finding runaway girls and returning them to the summary justice of their families. Haunted by the honour killing of a heavily pregnant girl he turned over to her family however, the nameless, disillusioned bounty hunter is having a crisis of conscience and longs to quit, to leave the city and make a new life in the country. But the pregnant Mona represents one last, very profitable payday and it’s only a matter of time before either the bounty hunter or Mona’s murderous policeman brother, Kasim (Faraz Ayub), find her…

There’s little honour in the misogynistic murder of innocent women but there’s undoubtedly an important film to be made about the practise of so-called “honour” killing in contemporary British society. Writer/director Shan Khan’s Honour is not that film unfortunately. While there’s no reason why such a film shouldn’t be a conventional crime thriller with elements of the urban Western, it’s probably not a good idea to have as your protagonist a heroine so bland you’re indifferent to her fate or an actor playing her antagonist brother who seems to be unfamiliar with the concept of pretending for a living.

Bookended by the same scene of pointless casual racism (veiled Muslim women on a train are abused by beer-swilling, ginger, Scots stereotypes) which has little to do with the rest of the film, Honour is a ponderous, would-be moody exercise in amateur theatrics with an over-reliance on flashback that does little to advance or enliven the tired, lazy plot, a tin ear for dialogue, broadly stereotyped two dimensional characters and the flat visual aesthetic of TV soap River City (but crucially none of that show’s wit or verve) where former actor Khan cut his teeth as a director. Anointed one of 2012’s Stars of Tomorrow by Screen International, Atlantis star Aiysha Hart is pretty but pretty forgettable as Mona, veteran actress Harvey Virdi is pointlessly evil as her widowed mother while Faraz Ayub and Shunham Saraf as her brothers are buffoonish mummy’s boys as inept in the threat they represent as they are at garroting their sister and burying her in a shallow grave.

In fact, it’s obvious from the film’s poster the main attraction of Honour – Paddy Considine’s intense, committed performance as the criminal antihero seeking redemption. Investing his Man With No Name with the haunted, world-weary air of a man not merely sickened by his own past but genuinely tired of it, Considine brings depth and a wounded nobility to his radically underwritten character. Like William Holden’s Bishop in The Wild Bunch or every cowboy Eastwood’s played since Josey Wales, he’s a gunfighter who’s lived beyond his times and he knows it.

Given the choice, choose death before dis Honour.



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