Sunday, 3 July 2011

Four Lions

****
It's no surprise that the dream team of Chris Morris and Peepshow writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong has produced a very funny script. Of course, the film is in no way offensive to anyone except perhaps those defending the rights of morons. (I'd say Four Lions is not really about Islam. It's about getting things wrong.) The staggering levels of stupidity are just priceless but more of that later. Still, it takes balls that clang to make jokes regarding a notoriously humourless religion like Islam. As far as I am aware there is no Fatwa issued on Morris. Phew.

Four Lions follows the misadventures of a small group of fanatical moslems hellbent on blowing something up. The initial plan, hilariously, is to bomb a mosque "to radicalise the moderates". They settle for detonating themselves on the London marathon thus ensuring their place in paradise. It's a kind of Suicide Bombing for Dummies except the dummies are the suicide bombers. Just when you think they can't do anything more retarded they do. It's a lovely dynamic, the way the group follows the "knowledgeable" ones - Omar (Riz Ahmed) and Barry (Nigel Lindsay) - with unquestioning, wide-eyed enthusiasm. It's a similar tradition to the local defence force putting their trust in Captain Manwairing or Harry Dunne hanging on Lloyd Christmas' every word. The performances here, portraying the dumb and indeed, the dumber are just wonderful.

It is evident the writers really know their subject matter. The DVD extras include a pair of darkly disturbing documentaries involving British moslems and the difficulties they face. I don't doubt the research involved was exhaustive because it shows. Morris et al certainly know their Koran. Some of the jokes cleverly reference Islam, some are just brilliantly silly. There is much hilarity gained from the characters incomprehension of why exactly they're doing what they're doing ("I think I'm confused but I'm not sure"). 

Morris' directs the action capably in this his debut feature. He often lets the scene go on a little longer than the perceived wisdom might suggest it should. It makes us, the viewer squirm a little and brings to mind his work on the fantastically bizarre TV show, Jam.




1 comment:

  1. I really liked this film and it hard loads more heart than I ever expected from either Chris Morris or a movie about Suicide Bombers. However one area I did feel let down was the comedic side. I expected this to really push boundaries and leave me in stitches but it didn't. In hindsight it's clear that this was never the intention but some part of me can't help but feel let down.
    I also felt like I needed some background on the characters and how they got to where they were. I really liked the central couple but I was never convinced in his reasons for suicide bombing and her reasons for allowing him.

    I like the Dad's Army comparison you make I think in many ways its spot on.

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