Four Lions (15)



Comedy (2010)
101mins UK

Starring: Adeel Akhtar, Preeya Kalidas, Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay
Director: Chris Morris
Writer(s): Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Omar is a devout Muslim, enraged by the West's treatment of his spiritual brothers and sisters. So he spearheads a terrorist cell in the heart of multi-cultural northern Britain with best friend Waj and white Islamic convert Barry. The jihadists debate potential targets for the deadly payload with the help of Faisal, who is looking at the possibility of training crows to fly through windows carrying primed explosives in their beaks.

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Interview With Chris Morris

LondonNet Film Review
Four Lions

Chris Morris has been best friends with controversy for most of his television and radio career...

Kayvan Novak as Waj, Riz Ahmed as Omar and Nigel Linsdsay as Barry in Four Lions. Optimum ReleasingAs the face and co-writer of the BBC2 comedy The Day Today, he mercilessly lampooned the sensationalist British news media, before taking his coruscating brand of satire to new heights on Channel 4 with Brass Eye. A special edition of the programme devoted to paedophilia and a fictional charity called Nonce Sense drew thousands of complaints and also won a British Academy Television Award. For his debut feature film, Morris addresses the thorny subject of terrorism with his trademark, scabrous wit. The script, co-written by Morris, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, portrays the bombers as clumsy, insecure, funny and loyal friends, who are liable to set off the devices before they ever get to the heart of London.

Omar (Riz Ahmed) is a devout Muslim, who is enraged by the West's treatment of his spiritual brothers and sisters. He spearheads a terrorist cell in the heart of multi-cultural northern Britain with best friend Waj (Kayvan Novak) and paranoid, white Islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay), who believes passers-by are undercover police officers gathering intelligence on the group. The jihadists debate potential targets for their deadly payload with Faisal (Adeel Akhtar), who is training crows to fly through windows carrying primed explosives in their beaks. Omar brings the men together to pose as charity fun runners in the capital, with the aim of blowing themselves up on the streets and taking innocent members of the public with them. When they finally arrive in London, a policeman approaches the quartet. "You're all gonna die in that gear, lads," laughs the copper, referring to the possibility of heat exhaustion inside the colourful costumes. "It's all in a good cause," Omar replies smugly, the double meaning completely lost to the Pc.

Nigel Lindsay as Barry, Kayvan Novak as Waj and Arsher Ali as Hassan in Four Lions. Optimum ReleasingFour Lions tempers our natural discomfort with some hilarious set pieces such as two police marksmen debating what the Honey Monster looks like so they can be sure they are taking aim at the correct fancy-dressed competitor. The script wrings deafening belly laughs from the exploits of the central characters, such as Omar accidentally shooting Arabs with a misaligned rocket launcher. Ahmed plays his pivotal role straight, providing the perfect comic foil to Novak as the dim-witted best friend who finds himself at the centre of a siege and likens the situation to his favourite video game: "I got hostages and everything, like Xbox Counterstrike!" Undoubtedly, some audiences will take offence but Morris's film accomplishes a simple yet vital feat. It disarms the terrorist's greatest weapon - fear - and reminds us that though our ideologies and religions may differ wildly, we all hark from the same vast genetic pool and are capable of the same acts of stupidity and love. Especially stupidity.

- Sam Cannon


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