Review - 'Banting' by M Raihan Halim
Banting tells the story of a teenage girl who desires to break conservative barriers in pursuit of her unconventional passion in wrestling.
Yasmin, played by Izyan Mellyna Ishak, knows that there are two choices she has to make: fight or flight. Indeed, she chooses to fight through the battles – keeping this conquest a secret at home and at work – and comes out as a winner proving the old time saying 'when there's a will, there's a way'.
Even though her “way” can be dare-devilish, Yasmin later became instantly famous when her power move was leaked on social media. This further propelled her will of becoming a professional wrestler in spite of her 'headscarf and modesty' issues.
Her night-time wrestling journey uncovers her inner perseverance, tenacity and determination to be included in an all-female troupe under the guidance of a tough has-been coach, Harry (Jimmy Taenaka).
Her efforts as “Zarith Blade” pays off when she was offered a professional wrestling gig overseas. Her disapproving mother supports her towards the end and even begin to take lessons from her. This mother-daughter acceptance is definitely one of the beautiful and tender parts of the film.
There was this epiphanic moment when a wrestler accidentally removed Yasmin's head gear and revealed her long dark hair in slow motion which seems contradicting. It is a shock factor but does little to swing the motion in Yasmin's favor.
The plot does seem plain but manages to counter with larger-than-life characters like Queen Kong, The Sisters, Pretty Baby and Killer Bride that add much needed laughable moments to Yasmin's state of tension with her family and best friend.
Overall, this debut film is a comedy treat that is enough to entertain, invoke and make audience leave with a feel-good sensation.
Review by Haswani