Four Lions (2010) starring Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak

Roaring with Laughs

In the midlands somewhere in Britain lives Omar (Riz Ahmed) Waj (Kayvan Novak) Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) and Barry (Nigel Lindsay) a Muslim convert with a short fuse. These four are a group of young Jihadists having formed their own group and plan of pulling off an act of terrorism. But these four are not the brightest bunch and seem to get everything wrong from buying bleach to training using weapons. But things between the group are tense especially with convert Barry being the most extreme of the group.

A comedy about Jihadi terrorists, as concepts go it is up there with Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" as ideas which could easily gone down like a lead balloon yet like Chaplin's comedy Christopher Morris' "Four Lions" manages to find the laughs from what on paper seems like a terrible idea. And the simple reason why Morris gets away with what has to be one of the bravest comedies in recent years is he treats these wannabee terrorists in the same way that other groups have been mocked whilst highlighting how blowing yourself up is simply ridiculous, he basically keeps it general.

Now I am not going to go in to detail about "Four Lions" other than to say we are in the realms of dumb and dumber here with gag after gag about his groups incompetence. That ranges from one of the gang stupidly going in to the same corner shop again and again to buy bleach using phoney accents to the classic mishap with a bazooka. It is because the jokes are a mix of familiar and just daft that it is not a movie which mocks the group but mocks the general ineptness of the people in the group. And that is what you get time and again with one moment of daftness after another.

What this all boils down to is that on paper "Four Lions" doesn't sound like it should work and may even sound distasteful but trust me as Christopher Morris has cleverly delivered a funny, acceptable movie. But it is the sort of movie which you need to watch to understand why it works as just saying it is comedy from ineptness doesn't do it justice.