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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Four Lions

Lauded as a comedy genius in the UK for his television series Brass Eye but basically unknown here, Chris Morris specialises in making people laugh at things they think they shouldn’t. It’s hardly surprising then that his first feature is a full-on slapstick comedy centred on the misadventures of four completely serious – if only marginally competent – UK suicide bombers.

It’s a shocking conceit and writer / director Morris plays it to the hilt with bungled martyrdom videos, surreally stupid attempts at buying loads of explosive compounds and exploding crows. Plus there’s the “logic” that makes no logical sense: when angry white convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay) wants to bomb a mosque to radicalise UK Muslims, Omar (Riz Ahmed) points out that’s like trying to win a fight by punching yourself in the face. Their antics may be silly but the seriousness of what they intend is never ignored. Morris’ genius is in balancing the two, making a film that finds the humour in the reality of suicide bombers in the west. Turns out there’s an awful lot of humour there: this is easily one of the funniest films of the year.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #481)

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