11 April 2011

Movies: Four Lions

Four Lions (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1341167/

Dark comedy/farce about a group of inept British jihadists hatching an ever-changing plan to set off explosives to rally the rest of the Muslims to their cause.

This is a sit back and watch the hijinx unfold film. Watch as these misfits interact with each other, try to hatch and carry out their master plan, build and transport their home-made explosives.  Faisal is trying to train crows to fly explosives into buildings instead of martyring himself because his sick dad started eating newspaper; Barry is a white convert that's gone off the rails; Omar seems most committed to the task and has the support of his wife and child; Waj is an idiot that follows everything the Omar does.  There's also a fifth, Hassan, that gets recruited into the deal by Barry while Omar and Waj went to Pakistan for training. Eventually they decide to bomb the London Marathon to make their statement.

I can't reveal much because the humor is in the conversations, the situations and the process of events unfolding.  The characters' actions and dialog stay true to their established selves. The actors deliver not only comedy but a realistic humanity in their characters, at times even sympathy is warranted. Part of the funny is how Omar is just another guy to his coworkers and not once does it even occur to them he could be a terrorist, even as the credits roll.
Side note: As a way to explain that his upcoming martyrdom is noble Omar has been telling his son the story of Disney's "The Lion King" with a jihadist-parallel bent. In response Omar's son has one of the funniest lines in the film and he delivers it with such vigor and sincerity: "He'll be in Heaven before his head hits the ceiling."

It's dark, it's funny. It's mostly in English with some subtitled Urdu.  And the funny continues as the credits roll. It's almost a mockumentary type film, akin to Spinal Tap.  There aren't winks to the audience to let you know something is funny, it just happens. It isn't non-stop funny, it has its highs and lows, but overall it is worthwhile to see.

Give it a view if you have a chance to see it.

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