It really shouldn’t work. A black comedy that’s basically about four terrorists, planning an atrocity on UK soil? That’s surely a film that’s designed to wind up tabloid newspapers? In the wrong hands, it certainly could have been. But under the diligent stewardship of Chris Morris, Four Lions
emerges as one of the best films of the year.
It’s a perfectly pitched, at times rightly uncomfortable comedy, that brings together a quartet of inept terrorists, who when we meet them, can’t even put a video together without it falling into farce. It’s an opening scene that sets up Four Lions perfectly. And led by the terrific Riz Ahmed and the scene-stealing Nigel Lindsay, the company of actors rise to the challenge that Chris Morris sets them.
Four Lions isn’t a perfect film, though. The tone is a little uneven at times, and it’s very much one that’s going to feel more at home on a television than a cinema screen. But it’s still a daring, risky and at times extremely funny piece of work. And it’s one not afraid to pull the rug on you, either, never shielding itself away from the undercurrents of its subject matter. It’s the most ambitious comedy in a long, long time, and it’s credit to all concerned that it works as well as it does. --Simon Brew
Black comedy directed by Chris Morris ('Brass Eye', 'The Day Today'). Riz Ahmed plays Omar, a devout British-based Muslim who forms a small terrorist group. Omar is an unconvincing leader and his team of fellow terrorists are just as unimpressive. Among them are dim-witted Waj (Kayvan Novak), shy and quiet Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) and recently-converted white Muslim, Barry (Nigel Lindsay), whose passion far outweighs his knowledge. Omar and his comrades come up with several destructive plans, including using birds as explosives and bombing mosques in an attempt to provoke non-violent Muslims. But do this rag-tag team of terrorists really pose a genuine threat to Britain?