Saturday, 15 May 2010

Cinema Review: Four Lions

When a father sits down to tell his son the story of Simba and his many quests across Pride Rock, ending with Simba blowing himself up and reaching Heaven before his head plummets to the ground; you know you're watching one of the most controversial films of the year.

Writer/director Christopher Morris has pieced together a film so shockingly hilarious, you often wonder to yourself if laughing at certain situations in Four Lions is a crime. Still, you'll find yourself struggling to hold back the fits of laughter.

The film centers around a group of four Jihadists and their eventual plans of "blowing something up". Lead by Omar (Riz Ahmed, recently starring in Neil Marshall's Centurion), a man with a particular idea about the treatment towards Muslims, the men squabble themselves in-and-out of close calls.

With Omar and his dim-witted friend Waj (Kayvan Novak, Channel's Facejacker) off to a terrorist-training camp, with all intentions to bring back the intelligence of their impending attack, Barry (Nigel Lindsay) - a white Islamic convert - and Faisel (Adeel Akhtar) are left in Britain. Returning home, the pair are faced with the group's newcomer, 'rapper' Hassan (Arsher Ali). Omar, having reached odds-ends, deals with the incapable foursome and their inability to make any sort of progress without an ill-fated move.

Four Lions is undoubtedly a film you'll either love or hate. The subject matter is touchy, having been heavily criticised since it's nationwide release. However if you've seen the trailer, you're given a more-than-fitting peek into the film's humor and style.

Poking fun at terrorists themselves, Morris has produced a script so adequately, and plausibly, portrayed. His writing never comes across as patronising, but merely addressing the subject of war, politics and the human emotion - all of which carries through nicely due the cleverly written script and the actors' understanding of their well-rounded characters. Carried entirely by Ahmed, his powerful performance - which is both comic and emotionally-charged - undeniably stands out, whilst the others aren't exactly as fully-fleshed out, but equally as entertaining with their fair share of explosively funny dialogue.

The idiocracy of the group is proven countless times. Whether it's incinerated crows, mis-aimed rocket launchers or merely men continuously displaying their affection for the 'Rubber Dingy Rapids' at Alton Towers; there's bound to be at least one thing the vast majority of audiences find amusing about the film.

Raising questions throughout of our own economies awareness, knowledge and understanding of the subject at hand but not thrusting it at you so it overpowers the overall enjoyment of the film, Morris has created a feature so publicly underrated but courageously made.

Based solely on the film at hand, my opinions are positive. Boasting satire at it's very best, Four Lions is proof that Christopher Morris is a ballsy director, straying from the path and differentiating himself from every other talent out there at the moment.

"F**k the mini Babybells!"


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