Four Lions

Is it a comedy? Is it controversy? Who knows if there is a clear genre for this film but there is a very funny scene with a bird and…a plane.

If only the characters in Four Lions knew their heads from their tails, the film would probably fan out to be a political drama. However, king of controversy, Chris (Brass Eye) Morris, doesn’t fail to use his experience in satire and apparently an extended amount of research, to express the world of terrorism and its groups within Britain, with delightful effect.

The mix of political issues that are recognised by everyone and clear-cut characters define that the film is in fact a satirical comedy at its best. This controversially acclaimed film almost hides the message that the media is so often trying to portray about terrorism in the UK.

Instead of stereotypes and fear, there are personality and friendship. Although an angry, white British Islam convert, played by Nigel Lindsay, to a simpleton fixated on river rapid rides don’t seem to be the most desirable of folk, the combination of the four rookie terrorists enables the film to be ultimately more about brotherhood and less about the reasons and belief for terror stalking the nation.

This being said, it is does highlight issues which are taboo and can be quite cut-throat at times. From man-made bombs to terrorist camps, the film tackles the subject head on. It takes a potentially terrifying subject that has surrounded the public – conflict between characters, their beliefs – and the way the film has been directed is, at times, almost as though the characters are being watched and filmed by a secret camera or CCTV…which is eerie but gives the film an edge, makes it real.

The character Omar, played by Riz Ahmed (Shifty), was initially quite scripted. However his performance, and the character he played, eventually made sure the film had significance and authority. His purpose in the film was more a statement for his belief and the glue that stuck the group together.

The normality of the character added sincerity to the satirical genre and truth to the fact that everyday people are terrorists, and how their lives lie in their belief.

All in all, the film works for itself; the usually untouched and inviolable subject of terrorism is balanced out perfectly by comical characters and laugh-out-loud scenes.

I can’t guarantee it would be for everyone (especially those who wrote into Watchdog about Morris’ previous work), but those who give it a chance will see the lighter side and meaning amidst the controversial issues and find it is a worthwhile watch.

« « prev article This is Cinema | MIA Films next article » »

Got something to say then get typing.