Chris Morris, 2010
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"A shockingly hilarious, stiletto-sharp satire!"—A. O. Scott, The New York Times
"A ballsy romp through one of the least lighthearted subjects imaginable. A fearless comedy…audacious and uncompromising."—The Onion’s AV Club
Chris Morris' Four Lions is a funny, thrilling comedy that illuminates modern jihadism through the prism of farce. It understands jihadists as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous. What This Is Spinal Tap did for heavy metal and Dr Strangelove for the Cold War, Four Lions does for the modern face of terrorism.
In a British city, four men have a secret plan. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is disillusioned about the treatment of Muslims around the world and is determined to become a soldier. This is the most exciting idea Waj (Kayvan Novak) has ever heard, and it's a no brainer because Omar does Waj's thinking for him. Opposed to Omar and everyone else on earth is Islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay). He'd realize he joined the cell to channel his nihilism—if he had half the self-knowledge of a duck. Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) is the odd man out. He can make a bomb—but he can’t blow himself up just now coz his sick dad has "started eating newspaper." Instead he's training crows to fly bombs through windows. This is what Omar has to deal with.
They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face? Four Lions plunges us beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien. It undermines the folly of just wishing them away or, even worse, alienating the entire culture from which they emerge. The film is neither pro- nor anti-religious. The jokes fly out of the characters' conflicts, excesses, and mistakes. Crackling with wit and tension, Four Lions is an essential response to our failure to engage with reality and a high toast to the idea that laughter is better than killing. (102 mins, 35mm)