Review: Radical Honesty

Directed by Tin Pang and written by Suren Jayemanne and Neilesh Verma, who both star in the film, after a couples therapy session, an eager yet clumsy Rohan (Jayemanne) finds himself attempting to navigate an unexpectedly frank conversation with his girlfriend Sophie (Nicola Frew).

Race is always going to be both a tricky and an important topic so using it comedically requires the right touch and that’s what you get with Radical Honesty. It dives right into typical modern conversations about race, in a short and sweet manner. The writing has a relatable feel while still having that touch of over exaggeration which fits the style of comedy that Suren Jayemanne and Neilesh Verma are going for. It feels like a natural conversation between a couple, it has a satirical edge which is well done, some of it is more subtle than others and there’s a growing quality to the way that it moves. It’s paced out well to make the best use of its brief four minutes, it makes its point while being quick but not rushed and it’s consistently entertaining. Which is a quality that shouldn’t be underestimated, even with only a handful of minutes.

The writers clearly have a good working relationship because when they then appear together on screen, they’re so much fun to watch. They immediately have great chemistry, connection and banter. Ending the film on such a satisfying note and balancing out the more tightly wound portrayal that we’re getting from Nicola Frew. Frew does a great job of bundling all the quirks and qualities you’d attach to a typical young woman in today’s society. She’s exactly who we think she’s going to be, which perfectly works in her favour. Alongside Suren Jayemanne they create a sympathetic and relatable relationship, you’ve likely known or do know people in a similar situation.

Potentially the only thing that’s missing from Radical Honesty is matching that playful, banter style atmosphere with the visual. It feels as though the direction and cinematography are a touch lacking in energy. There’s a few overly close shots and while as a whole it does work, it’s just a shame to not see it taking that opportunity to enhance the comedy further. It feels as though there’s a small edge of sharpness lingering beneath the surface and it’s begging to come out to play more to really hit the key notes to the film even harder.

Radical Honesty pokes fun at a typical conversation about relationships and race, grabbing hold of all the overt-sensitivities found today. It’s slightly satirical, smart, the comedic timing is well done and it’s genuinely entertaining. However, it plays things overly understated with the direction, losing the potential to add an extra punch but it is still solid work. Suren Jayemanne, Neilesh Verma and Nicola Frew all do that great dialogue justice with utterly convincing and funny performances.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ | 8/10

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