Film Review: Four Lions

Much has been made of Chris Morris’ willingness to court controversy. The subject matter of Four Lions has already caused a stir, however a viewing of the film is enough to subside these alarms. Though perhaps not from the Daily Mail.

Four Lions focuses on a group of inept would-be suicide bombers planning a terrorist attack on the UK.  As head of the group, Omar tries to plan an attack that will go down in history. He is thwarted somewhat by the idiocy of his fellow extremists…

The striking thing about Four Lions is that for all its absurdity, much of the film is entirely plausible. Rather than faceless murders, these characters are made three dimensional; Omar in particular is portrayed as much like everyone else, in spite of his unpalatable ideas.

The strength of the film is two-fold. On the one hand, there are the well written characters and scenarios, which promote a sense of believability. On the other, the dialogue and set-ups are incredibly funny, giving the audience exactly what they expect from a comedy of this nature.

With a film such as this, commentators will always question how sensitive filmmakers are with their depiction of the Muslim religion. However, Islam remains one of the few things that isn’t made fun of in the film. Whilst Four Lions parodies extremists and their views, authority figures (police and government) and even the unsuspecting nature of colleagues, friends and the public in general, there is no mockery of the actual religion. Four Lions is much cleverer than that.

There are good performances all round, particularly in the camaraderie between characters played by Riz Ahmed and Kayvan Novak. Elsewhere, it is nice to see The Thick of It‘s Alex Macqueen reprising a political role as a clueless MP.

Four Lions is a both a hilarious film and an astute parody of a politically sensitive topic. Undoubtedly certain factions will deem it offensive. But anyone who has actually seen the film will see this criticism as baseless. Four Lions is definitely worth a watch.

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