on 15 September 2011
comedy is all pervasive - even when it comes to the hot topic of religeous extremism and terrorism. the film isn't without its faults but its 5* simply based on its brave approach to the topic. nigel lindsay for me is especially brilliant in this. a must buy
This film has to go down as one of the great directoral successes, bearing in mind it takes on the current issue of Islamist terrorism and manages to do so in a way that is thought-proving and includes real humour and pathos.
The brilliant Riz Ahmed leads a small mis-matched band of UK jihadists which, via a disastrous sojourn to Afghanistan, plus losing one or two members along the way, reaches the point of no return...
The film is at all times riveting, and contains many moments of laugh-out-loud humour, but never forgets its core message - its main characters are portrayed as real people, and, particularly in Ahmed's case, very likeable, but fundamentally and tragically misguided.
This film ranks alongside Doctor Strangelove as one of the greatst black comedies of all time.
on 6 January 2016
I watched this after reading an editorial arguing that the world needs more popular media lampooning and satirizing religious fanaticism. These forms of expression are what humans have employed for eons to express disagreement, to criticize, defuse, entertain and amuse, incite change in actions and beliefs of institutions, people but seem notably missing in this area / topic
I really enjoyed this movie. In a certain manner it reminded me a little of The Full Monty in that there was a group of men who are possibly described as not exactly critical thinkers determined to carry out something.
We need more movies and popular media like this to put the whole situation in perspective and to offer a different point of view.
on 8 May 2010
This film is about a group of Jihadist friends in Sheffield who plan to martyr themselves. Sounds hilarious, right? Well, bizarrely, it pretty much works. In taking on the subject, you've got to suspect Morris has deliberately decided to take the bull by the horns on the debate as to whether anything should be off limits in the world of satire and comedy. His willingness to make us question the absurdity of the received wisdom on subjects is precisely why he is such an important film maker. Everyone will remember his Brass Eye special "Paedo Britain" which absurdly had Government Minsters outraged - despite not actually having sat down and watched it through.
The film has courted controversy and some of the 7/7 families have asked people not to support it. This is totally understandable. Morris clearly isn't condoning suicide bombings with this film, but where he's been very successful and clever is that he's not mocking the Jihadists either. Its a fine line to walk, and aside from perhaps the overly dumb characterisation of Waj (Omar's best friend) and Fassel (who wants to deliver bombs by mounting them on crows) the film works very well as a black comedy - there was plenty of laughter tonight in Cineworld Cardiff, and its quite something to get an audience to belly-laugh when someone detonates themselves. Thankfully the more awkward 'dumb lines' (what are those rabbits doing here / its a chicken bro, etc) are limited to the first 30 minutes of the film. From then on, the film finds its groove and the characterisation becomes more credible, with Riz Ahmed as Omar really carrying the film - he manages to combine the poignancy of his family knowing about his Jihadist calling whilst simultaneously avoiding either schmultz or steering the film away from its satirical core.
Probably not the best thing Morris has ever done, but, let's face it, Morris on a bad day would beat 90% of stuff by other writers. I think challenging comedy as produced by Morris deserves wide public support - as the Onion demonstrated after the 9/11 attacks ('Holy ****ing ***t, America under attack') - frequently comedy and actually laughing at tragedy is the best way to start a dialogue and open up. Go out and see it, laugh, think.
on 7 September 2011
Watched this hoping it would make me see how rediculous suicide bombers were. But unfortunately I liked the characters! There are some side-splitting moments that make me involuntarily giggle every time I think of them. (embarassing sitting on a bus!!!) Still too radical a subject for me, but an extremely well acted film. Poignant in placces too. Watch it with an open mind.
on 7 October 2015
This film is a must see for so many reasons. First, it is extremely funny. While much of the comedy is very dark, there are also many laugh-out-loud moments and just as many subtle jokes that you might miss the first time round.
Second, the film is superbly acted and put together - Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar, Arsher Ali and Nigel Lindsay are all fantastic in the starring roles, but are well supported by Preeya Kalidas, Julia Davis and others. Overall, Lindsay is the standout - his casting and portrayal of Barry is just inspired.
Third, the script is actually a very clever and thoughtful dissection of all of the issues surrounding radicalisation. The plot is quite deliberately littered with contradictions, hypocrisy and stereotyping in all directions. Omar's relationships with his family, who are all aware of his ambitions, and his disturbing control over his best friend Waj are all especially well played out. The conclusion is convincing, not least for the final analysis of the resolve of the group and its members.
Chris Morris sees the worst in nearly everyone, he then ups the pace a little and records it. The result is usually unpleasant, often very funny, and sometimes an eye-opener. In Morris World everyone is stupid, self-serving or mendacious; many characters manage all three without breaking into a sweat. We are invited to laugh at the characters and not with them. However, laugh most of us do. The story of four West Riding Asian lads (plus a white convert from the Fred Kite school of organising) in their struggle to become suicide bombers should be anything but amusing, but where the human side mixes with the doctrinaire concept it is both amusing and touching. To varying degrees the purity of the Islamic background has been lost to the effects of living in a Western society; and both of these backgrounds exist in the main protagonists at the same time. The response of Police, intelligence services and British officials is scarcely more effective. It is undoubtedly black comedy of the blackest kind.
Those of you unable to follow West Riding accents are going find this film a strain.
on 13 February 2016
You could watch this film in so many different ways... My take is:
It's a black comedy with some very funny moments that you really worry that you shouldn't find funny, the under currents of the film left me seeing another side to radicalisation which is reinforced by an absolutist response to those radicalised that allows for no way back and keeps people on the route towards an inevitable, sad, appalling conclusion.
No fit subject for satire? Nah, Morris was always going to make a film, his love of it so obvious in 'The Day Today' and 'Brass Eye' and what riper target would a latter-day Swift have than modern Jihadism? If anything invites laughter at its vainglorious idiocy it is Men, usually men, dedicated to murder because they believe and Paradise, and 76 virgins, await. No matter that the word SHOULD have been translated as "White grapes!" - immediately showing you can laugh at such dangerous folly. Not so obvious he would make one about 4 useless jihadis and I was surprised to read about the finished film just before release. In interview about it Morris was hilarious, with a sense of the ridiculous both acute and often beautifully expressed. In fact I had met Morris outside the Comedy Theatre (Now The Pinter theatre. He was utterly charming and every bit as delightful as his reputation, really). He lauded his mate Shane Meadows, recommended 'Romeo Brass' and only mentioned he was going 'North' on some film business but not disclosing what it was...in fact he was seeing how village communities and their values had been trasplanted from Pakistan to England, apparently.. This was it. It is very funny: the very idea of exceedingly thick Jihadis isn't so very far from Muhammad Atta's absurd blaming of the Jews for his 'toilet troubles' - true I assure you - and the actual thick Muslims who overloaded a boat that sank in front of their very eyes; so in the film our 3 friends' training in AfPak is plausible and plausibly catastrophic, not so much warriors as twerps - not so far from the naifs that are disliked in Syria by the local Faithful. So the comic highlights such as the Crow Incident has a truth to it; the hapless dimwit invoking a joyous day on "Rubber Dinghy Rapids" is poignant, not just daft and Nigel Lindsay's well played, uncomprehending white warrior is only an inch the other side of incredible....Acting honours to the always charismatic Riz Ahmed, playing the leading Muslim here with genuine warmth, so we are able to appreciate more the dilemma of the religious maniac than we might have expected. He makes a touching Father too, ensuring that his violence is in ghastly contrast. . Now one can see quite why Morris, a highly intelligent man who has put considerable research in for this, upbraided Martin Amis, no less, for lumping all Muslims together too readily. 'Four Lions' is often hilarious and always watchable. He will make a great film and while this not, quite, one- being not quite of that heft - his cinematic literacy make it likely his future outings will be similarly compelling.
Spoiler alert: The Honey Monster is a bear. Evidence the Police marksman proclaiming, "I just shot it." Sublime.
on 7 October 2011
If you haven't seen this film you simply must!. It's British humour at it's best. One of the main characters went on to become a star in the TV series Sirens. The film when it was originally released was very controversial as it dealt with suicide bombers. The way the subject is turned round to make it humourous is very clever. Put it on your Christmas list!.