Run time: 90 mins
Bassam Tariq’s emotionally resonant drama about a young man facing a momentous challenge.
British-Pakistani rapper Zed is finally getting his big break. Before going on tour he heads to London to see his parents and reconnect with his culture, repeatedly facing up to criticism. When he’s diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, the illness and its experimental treatment threaten to derail his big chance.
An exploration of identity and legacy, the film has a hallucinatory style that plays on internalised feelings rather than plot details. The title is telling of Zed’s struggle between capitalism and identity. Culture and religion also swirl throughout the story, never overly explored but adding texture to characters and relationships.
Riz Ahmed bursts from the screen as the impassioned rapper, and is just as magnetic in Zed’s more thoughtful moments. He’s so easy to identify with that we feel each step in this journey with him, including his anger, frustration and fear. It’s a beautiful, harrowingly raw performance. As his strict father, Khan creates intense moments in clashes that bring out both common ground and bitter differences.
Vigorous and stylish, it is a fascinating, intimate 90 minutes of filmmaking.