TL;DR – A deeply painful and confronting film about the damage we cause to others and more the damage we do to ourselves.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Oh boy, is this a difficult film to digest, it is one of those films that deal with very important issues in a way that you cannot hide from them. But because you can to hide from them they are shown without restraint and that is really difficult to sit through. An important film dealing with important matters and it made me feel joy and real pain. I also should say right from the start that there are some very confronting scenes in this film and that some people should be careful to check out a more detailed plot summary before watching.
So to set the scene, in a private school in the mountains of India Shay (Ali Haji) is constantly bullied by the upperclassmen as a way of ‘making a man out of him’ but there is one ray of hope because he has just been cast as the lead in the school play of Merchant of Venice. The only problem is the best friend of his main tormenter Arjun (Mohommad Ali Mir) also wanted the role and Baadal (Shaan Grover) will stop at nothing to get it. But that is easy for the upperclassmen, they just have to torment Shay until he relents. Which starts a cycle with lasting consequences.
I am almost at a loss to where to start unpacking a film like this, it osculates wildly in tone from moments of joy and discovery to going to a darker place than I have almost seen cinema go to before. One area where the film is clear about is the damaging hierarchies that exist in schools like this and more broadly in society. So many times throughout the film it is posited ‘why don’t you just tell someone’ when the framework that exists in this school, and let’s be clear many, or even most private school is if you snitch you are a rat. The lowest of the low.
It is a story of abuse begetting abuse, which is highlighted by one of the teachers mentioning that ’it made him the man he is today’ only for that to be sarcastically thrown back in his face. It is this framework that holds people back from doing what they need to do, it is this hierarchy that perpetuates the abuse as it co-opts people into becoming complicit in the abuse of others and there is only one outcome when you have a system like this.
don’t think I have ever felt more sympathy for a character than I do for Shay.
His life is intersecting pressures that crash together and there is no way he
can see out of it. This is why he interprets what the one kind teacher Murli (Kunal
Kapoor) did as a betrayal, why he lashes out at his friends. It is so hard to
watch the constant abuses heaped upon him when he is all alone and the people
who should be protecting him can’t, or won’t, or even worse are the very
perpetrators of that abuse. Which means while I don’t support how he worked out
the end of the film I do understand why he made those choices.
In the end, I do really know if I can recommend Noblemen. It is an important film, dealing with important issues and on that note, you should watch it. It is also a film with powerful acting and the whole cast should be applauded. However, it is a really difficult film to watch and watching someone be tormented into attempting suicide is something that I just really do know that I can recommend. A powerful film but also a painful film and it cannot be one without the other.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched Noblemen?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Noblemen
Directed by – Vandana Kataria
Screenplay by – Sonia Bahl, Sunil Drego & Vandana Kataria
Music by – Shri Sriram & KC Loy
Cinematography by – Ramanuj Dutta
Edited by – Simranjeet Malhotra
Production/Distribution Companies – Yoodle Films & Saregama
Starring – Kunal Kapoor, Ali Haji, Mohammed Ali Mir, Ivan Rodrigues, Shaan Groverr, Hardik Thakkar, Abhay Narang, Aryaman Mihir Seth, Muskkaan Jaferi, Ankit Kukreti & Soni Razdan
Rating – Around an Australia: MA15+;