Four Lions (2010) – Film Review
Director: Chris Morris
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak
by Matt Callard
There are dark comedies, then there’s Four Lions.
Chris Morris’s place in the Brit-Com pantheon is assured. The Day Today and Brass Eye remain, outside of The Office, the most influential comedy vehicles of modern times.
He’s no stranger to controversy either, of course, and his big screen debut sees him tackling a subject hardly know for its comedic possibilities; jihad. So it’s to Morris’s credit that Four Lions works as farce, tragedy, social commentary and laugh-out-loud comedy caper.
Events centre on a hapless Yorkshire-based Islamic terrorist ring, where the conspirators attempt to ‘out Al-Qaeda’ one another – they suggest blowing up a mosque to radicalise the moderates and they bond by insisting they would happily kill each other.
“Brave, wise and laser-guided”
This is not a vicious satire. It’s more a sad, strange document of an ideology gone askew and a society confused, brilliantly underlined by terrorist ringleader Omar’s much more religiously devout yet entirely peaceable brother.
It sometimes suffers from sketch show skit overload and lacks a fluent narrative, but during the demented final scenes, with the bombers running amok in inappropriate fancy dress and the security forces revealed as, at least, the bomber’s bumbling equals, the whole futile mess is laid horribly bare.
Brave, wise and laser-guided – Four Lions is a comedy for our times, indeed.