This sharp satire was just released this week on Blu ray and DVD. It will also be available on Netflix Instant on April 7th.
FOUR LIONS (Dir. Christopher Morris, 2010)
On this film’s Blu ray and DVD box the word “funny” is printed 15 times as quoted by 15 different critics. Well, I’ll say up front that FOUR LIONS is indeed funny. It’s also odd, quirky, and just plain silly.
It’s a comedy about suicide bombers so for it to be all those things is quite a feat.
The film concerns the misadventures of a group of jihadists who live in Sheffield, England. One of the members, Nigel Lindsay as a Caucasian convert to the cause, bemoans the current state of affairs:
“These are real bad times…Islam is cracking up. We’ve got women talking back. We’ve got people playing stringed instruments. It’s the end of days.”
In preparation for the end times, Riz Ahmed as the team’s leader and Kayvan Novak (who won a Best British Performance Award for this film at the British Comedy Awards) travel to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan where there’s more comic clashing than actual training goes down.
Although Lindsay keeps spouting out about bombing a mosque, the “Lions” decide to target a London marathon in which they can dress in big puffy colorful costumes (such as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, an Ostrich, a Honey Monster, and a clown) that can conceal their explosives.
At first I cringed at the notion of Keystone terrorists, but the film’s likable tone and satirical take on misplaced ideology isn’t hateful – it sympathizes with these characters even as it has them blowing themselves up (that can’t really be a Spoiler!, can it?).
There’s a welcome Monty Python-esque feel to a lot of the material – it particularly reminds me of the ineffective political rhetoric and misguided actions of the People’s Front Of Judea (or the Judean Peoples Front?) in LIFE OF BRIAN.
Though it doesn’t have the balls as big as church bells that that classic Biblical parody does, FOUR LIONS makes a great game of hilariously exposing the same closed systems of thought (or maybe just extremist stupidity).
Special Features: “Bradford Interview” - a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film featurette, background material, deleted scenes, and storyboards.