Four Lions review

Posted on 10 May 2010
By Toni Garden
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“I was reading about a plot to ram a US warship. In the dead of night with the target moored just offshore, the cell assembled at the quayside, slipped their boat into the water and stacked it with explosives. It sank. I laughed.”

Hitting every taboo, Morris has lampooned paedophilia, incest, rape, drugs and homophobia to name just a few and each has hit a note of controversial uproar and hilarity sealing his name as a comic genius to those with a dark sense of humour.

But it should be made clear that Chris Morris does not think that incest or rape is funny, ridiculously the serious subject matter merely serves as a backdrop making the absurd and often surreal situations characters find themselves in a sinful laugh for the audience.

Explaining how his research into the infamous terrorist training camps lead to his latest offering shows that Morris’s ability to hit the zeitgeist is both intelligent and unwavering;

“People go to training camps in the wrong clothes, forget how to make bombs, fight with each other and then fight again over who just won the fight, volunteer for the mujahedeen and get told to go home and “do the knitting”.

“They talk about who’s cooler – bin Laden or Johnny Depp. The more I looked, the more reality played against type. Then the penny dropped.”

His latest target has created such paranoid absurdity from the general public that only he could tackle Terrorism and get it so very right.

9/11 harked in an age of hysteria and gave an Emo generation an experience of terrorism that has rocked their already sensitive disposition, sending paranoia into overdrive and cultural sensitivity into politically correct madness.

In this new world there is no room for the famous British wit that got us through Thatcherism or the sharp, tell-it-like-it-is tongue of Bill Hicks that bulldozed through the last Iraqi war.

Saying the film will do for Islamic terrorism what Dad’s Army did for the Nazis, Chris Morris has skillfully created a film that does what British comedy does best and shows the bad guys up for what they really are ‘scary but also ridiculous.’

Set further from the wilderness of the training camps portrayed on the news, Four Lions follows the farce of wannabe suicide bombers from Sheffield and their attempt to strike a blow in the heart of London for Muslims everywhere.

This band of nitwits is formed of two innocently stupid followers Waj (Kayvan Novak) and Fessel (Adeel Akhtar), the Pike like twins to this Dad’s Army set up, Barry (Nigel Lindsey) a convert who believes blowing up a Mosque will really strike a blow against the modern world, Hassan (Arsher Ali), wannabe rapper and suicide bomber and Omar (Riz Ahmed) the Captain Mannering straight man to the farce that brings a face and heart to terrorism.

After taking a tumble loaded with carrier bags of explosives, Fessel and some bystanding sheep are the first to die for the cause and so the band of brothers is a quintet.

Morris has created a farce that will have everyone, regardless of faith, rolling in the aisles.

Four Lions is a reminder that even the bad guys are human and a laugh at their expense is what’s really needed to fight the war on terrorism.

Four Lions is now showing at FACT