Four Lions (2010)
Another film from last year that I should really have seen when it came out. This was the first film of Chris Morris, the brilliant British satirist from Brass Eye and The Day Today. It’s a black comedy about a bunch of clumsy British Muslims engaged in what they think is jihad. Five guys (one of them is called Barry…) with typical cockney accents from London have had enough of the consumerist society and western decadence and decide to blow up something up. Anything. Boots, the chemists, for example. Other suggestions involved using bomb-strapped crows which would fly into a shopping centre.
The comedy is fantastic. Loads of laugh-out-loud moments, like when two of the guys start energetically shaking their head so that if surveillance cameras are taking pictures, they would appear blurry. In the group, you have the idiot, the fool who thinks he’s the real deal, the one who has just been tagging along, the young naive one who’s full of enthusiasm and the apparently wise one who’s trying to keep everyone else from messing up. It’s a great recipe for laughs.
The reason that it’s not just pure mindless comedy is that it also tries to provoke thoughts on the whole terrorism debate, even if it’s usually controversial. Although it effectively displays the foolishness of the wannabe suicide bombers, it doesn’t try to ridicule them outright. It tries to explore the human side of it rather than the religious side of it, the latter being the lazy and misguided way to do it. There is a brilliant contrast shown in the film about the dynamic between one of the “lions” and his peace-loving and deeply religious brother, basically comparing the Islamic religion itself to a very different set of beliefs which is encouraging these guys to become “martyrs”.
All in all, a truly magnificent debut by Chris Morris (director as well as co-writer with some of the guys from In The Loop). Good performances all round. A great piece of cinema!
- jay-walk posted this