RogerBW's Blog

Four Lions 20 March 2015

2010, dir. Chris Morris, Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak; IMDb / allmovie

Four Muslim men from Sheffield aspire to be suicide bombers. Black comedy ensues.

The film was declared to be "controversial", but unless you're an all-police-good, all-Muslims-bad Daily Mail reader there's nothing here to cause offence. These men are people first, jihadis second, and that's the primary point: terrorists really are just people, who've made some strange decisions. There's never any examination of how they became radicalised in the first place, but for several of them one rather suspects it was simply for the lack of anything else to do.

These are real bad times, bruv. Islam is crackin' up. We got women talkin' back. We got people playin'… stringed instruments. It's the End of Days.

Certainly there's plenty of broad humour here: a "terrorist" video with a toy AK-47, swallowing SIM cards to avoid being tracked, planning to blow up a local mosque to radicalise the moderates, and plenty of explosions. But while that's effective, it's not the really good stuff here: that comes in the small quiet moments, such as the leader Omar talking to his young son.

While this most certainly is comedy, it doesn't discard everything else in the quest for humour. The funny incidents come out of the characters and their desires and situations, rather than forming the primary purpose with everything else subordinated to that. Yes, the would-be jihadis are bumbling and sometimes clownish, but this is a farce that shades into tragedy, as it should: a short scene in which Omar says farewell to his wife is genuinely affecting.

You will need to be able to cope with Yorkshire and Pakistani accents to follow what's going on (the Urdu is subtitled). Highly recommended if you choose to see the world in more detail than black-and-white.

Once more if you want more of my witterings you should listen to Ribbon of Memes.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Tags: comedy film

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:45am on 21 March 2015

    On the accent front at least I am ideally qualified to watch this film. I'm from Yorkshire, and spend half my days at work sometimes listening to Indians and Pakistanis attempt to speak English on conference calls. I used to think their English was getting better, but some new starters have convinced me that I've learnt to understand the accents better.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1