This is about the formation of a terrorist cell,with its conflicts,misunderstandings, rivalries, suggestibilities, set in a Northern English town,by the famous TV satirist Chris Morris.He treats a taboo subject as a subject of comedy,without causing offence. This film takes these homegrown jihadis as buffoons,humanly fallible,more like characters in a 5-a-side team,showing their innately ridiculous schemes.We are not shown the cause of their disillusionment,it is a given.It is full of insults and gaffs and an obscene line in Urdu.They attempt to make martyrdom videos and turn them into vanity projects like home videos,full of wooly thinking,insecurity and peer pressure.
Omar(Riz Ahmed) is disillusioned with the treatment of Muslims by the materialist West,with its McDonald's culture.He presents as a competent,intelligent individual. But after a training trip in Pakistan with Waj,he accidently kills Bin Laden by firing his weapon the wrong way.Barry(Nigel Lindsay) an extremist white convert attempts to be leader, recruits Hassan,who pretends to wear a suicide bomb belt at a public debate.Barry's big idea is to bomb a mosque,to get the moderates to rise up.He also thinks they should all eat their SIM cards to avoid tracking and shake their heads from side to side to avoid the `space cameras'.Hassan will choose martyrdom to get off Media Studies.He also foolishly dances with a young woman surrounded by bomb-making equipment.Faisal wants to train crows to fly bombs.Faj sees the mission as "rubber dingy rapids" to Paradise.Omar's wife supports him in his desire to blow himself up,supported by his son.Their domestic bliss is chilling,she thinks its'fun'. Omar as leader upbraids everbody with a constant stream of wit.There are laugh-out loud moments.
The religiously orthodox brother is treated like an uncool bore by Omar's family,yet he is more representative of the Muslim majority,and disapproves of Omar's plans. One of his prayer meetings is invaded by a police security raid.He dresses like a believer.Omar's wife mocks him with a water pistol,he doesn't think equality is right. He also,touchingly,plays football in the rain with an umbrella,as his fellow muslims,asking Omar to join in.
We are in a lampoon,as death is just a puff of smoke,no bloody aftermath.Just think of the difference it would make if they successfully carried off a suicide bombing and many people were killed.A whole other film.Here its all just high jinks and pranks The would-be jihadis are a bunch of clueless morons,misguided,hapless,deluded.At the end Omar realizes after the attempt on the London Marathon,he has been foolish. The last part of the film captures the inherent tragedy of it all.The media is the subject of the film.Image-making official,unofficial.The commentators,acquaintances,officials,try to wrest control of the narrative in the closing sequence.The greatest part of the film is how Morris has us engage with his characters emotionally,we empathise with them.They are a confused group looking for a leader who can explain what they are doing,give them motivation.We get an extended take, which makes the subject,for all its pratfalls believable,not just a series of sketches As much as I liked this feature fim debut, I felt it was a made-for-tv film.But no less an acheivement for that.