American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Until I watched the modestly satisfying crime thriller "Honour," I was not that aware of the existence of “honor killings.” Much of the time, these are murders committed in the name of religion by a family when one of their own causes them shame. As the phrase that opens the film says: “Life is nothing without honor.” And death apparently nullifies any dishonor.
This type of murder happens regularly in the insular world of Mob dramas. Just ask Joe Pesci. But to see such a scenario played out in a middle-class Muslim household in the heart of modern-day London is indeed disturbing. The film ends with the alarming fact that 5,000 girls worldwide are killed each year in this manner, according to the United Nations. A common reason? An arranged marriage has been refused or compromised by a woman’s loss of virginity.
Oddly enough, there’s now a celebrity angle to this topic. George Clooney just this week slammed The Daily Mail (which has since retracted its story) for fabricating the claim that the mother of his fiancée, Beirut-born British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, disapproves of their union and that jokes are circulating about his bride-to-be’s life being in danger.
"Honour," for good and bad, is nowhere near as gruesome and downbeat as its subject might suggest. Instead, writer/director Shan Khan in his feature debut embraces the sensational, pulpy side of his story, while mostly ignoring the social repercussions of these harrowing acts. He engages in some noir-infused fancy business by mixing up the order of the narrative and heightens the suspense by placing the action in shadowy urban settings or focusing on surreptitious objects such as weapons and photos