Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
As the crow, er....flies?
on 2 March 2015
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.