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.