Four Lions

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Mon, 2012-08-13 18:43

I watched this on DVD the other day. When I first heard about this comedy I considered it to be done in poor taste. It is supposed to be loosely based on the 7/7 bombers from Leeds, after all.

However then I remembered that humour could be used to laugh at evil.

Just think about how Charlie Chaplin's "Great Dictator" mocked Hitler and his attitude to the Jews in 1940.

In fact, isn't it sad this sort of thing is not done more often by those free-market voices on the right-wing?

Isn't it sad that it is mostly done by left-wingers such as Chaplin, Orwell or Rushdie?

I'm not sure what political stripe comedian and film maker "Chris Morris" is, but I would guess he was another left-wing liberal.

He's not shy of courting controversy anyway.

Last decade he made a TV comedy that seemingly mocked those who were hysterical about Paedophiles (very topical at the time). It got a record-breaking number of complaints from viewers, still ranked the third highest for any program aired in this country.

Surprisingly, the Four Lions didn't generate much controversy upon its release in 2010, despite winning acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival and ranking sixth on the UK film chart and having had a limited release in the US.

I don't think the film was that funny or well-written, although it had its moments, but I give full marks for the courage and concept.

The concept being that the terrorists are complete idiots who fanatically dream of being Islamic martyrs. They are not very good terrorists but still end up killing themselves and others. The others they end up killing up are mostly other Muslims.

I think Muslims were not so upset by the portrayal because they saw the terrorists as being separate from the moderates.

However, the moderates are not really spared either.

The wife and child of one of the terrorists egg him on to kill himself without batting an eyelid of concern that he will be dead.

A Muslim who comes to talk to the terrorist about what he plans to do refuses to walk into his living room because he will set his eyes upon his wife. They drive him away in ridicule.

At one stage a Muslim cleric advises the terrorist to come to his study group after he appears troubled.

But he replies: "What, and get a four-hour dose of that face? The floaty face of the wise bird, hovering on a million quotes, about to do a massive wisdom shit on my head."

We never know what the "wise old bird's" advice would have been. The so-called moderates are never seen to condemn their actions.

Apparently Morris told The Sunday Times that the film seeks to do for Islamic terrorism what Dad's Army, the classic BBC comedy, did for the Nazis by showing them as "scary but also ridiculous".

I think he achieved that, even if poorly executed.

It's a shame that the film couldn't have generated more controversy and debate though.


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Shane Pleasance's picture

Bold, black and occasionally funny.

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