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Archive for May 16th, 2010

Four Lions

Omar (Riz Ahmed) is a young British Muslim with a happy stable home life, for reasons that are never really explained or explored he has become radicalised and has formed his own terrorist cell in the north of England along with his Idiot friend Waj (Kayvan Novak), white English convert Barry (Lindsay) and the equally hapless Fessal (Adeel Akhtar), they are later joined by Hassan (Arsher Ali). After a trip to a Mujahideen training camp in Pakistan Omar reveals his plan for a suicide bomb attack. This hardly seems like the subject matter for a satirical comedy but Chris Morris of Brass Eye fame has never been famous for sticking with conventions. It is no surprise that there have been calls for movie to be banned (mainly by white middle class people who haven’t seen it), with the controversy in mind I went into see the movie with a little trepidation. I was not surprised to find the cinema to be very busy, it was on the day the new Robin Hood movie opened. What I wasn’t expecting was for a the screening of this movie (early evening, mid week) to be so busy, it was actually busier than Robin Hood was the following day.

The early part of the film mainly deals with the relationships between the would be terrorists, this from a comedy point of view is the most successful part of the movie with most of the comedy coming from their petty squabbles and their overall stupidity. It then takes a darker turn in the final act but still has its comic moments despite the and sometimes because of the situation.  It is worth mentioning the movie isn’t making fun of Islam, it is making fun of stupid people with the security forces coming off worse than the terrorists. This is best demonstrated in the scene where a pair of snipers can’t distinguish between a bear, a Wookiee and The Honey Monster with tragic consequences. As for those who are offended by it, as mentioned above the screening I attended was very busy what I didn’t say was that it the entire audience appeared to be laughing all the way through the movie and nobody was offended enough to leave. To give the movie some prospective from a satirical point of view anyone who is offended by it take a look at Charlie Chaplin’s comedy masterpiece The Great Dictator from 1940 made during World War II, Hitler is the but of most of the comedy. Comparisons between the events in this movie and the “7/7” attacks on London are understandable, but not entirely accurate. What the movie doesn’t do as I alluded to in the first paragraph is explore what radicalises young men making them want to kill innocent and random strangers. That would have been a very different movie.

Whatever your thoughts on the subject matter, I would always advocate people see things for themselves before forming an opinion. For me the movie is far less offensive or dangerous than the glut of revenge thrillers we that have been rearing their nasty little heads in recent years. Interestingly many of the same people who used preposterous words like “important” to describe them are now less enthusiastic about this movie; yes Chris Tookey of the Daily mail I am talking about you.

Four Starts out of five.

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