A satirical, slapstick look at four incompetent would-be terrorists plotting to wreak havoc across England.
Directed by Chris Morris
Starring Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, and Nigel Lindsay
Initial Review by Bryan Hartman
My obsession with Drafthouse movies continues with Four Lions. Drafthouse films have a high production quality, but are off the radar enough to rarely be mainstream. Four Lions is a movie about five jihadi terrorists in London and their hijinx. Four Lions is satire to a T. It uses humor to expose contemporary issues.
Comedy is tough to review and even tougher to agree upon, but I think Four Lions has enough humor to entertain most viewers. Its largest obstacles being British-English and how many quick jabs are quite hilarious.
Barry played by Nigel Lindsey and Omar played by Riz Ahmed steal the show. Barry's early line "If I don't come to Pakistan, Islam is finished." sums up his hubris. Moments later he drives a car 6 whole feet into a wall to show new recruit Hassan how to be serious.
The comedic scenes are strewn throughout the movie. Omar and Waj head to Pakistan for some Osama Bin Laden related hijinks, the terrorists communicate through Puffin Party (a shoutout to Club Penguin), as the terrorists are ranting against modern society, one shouts out, "fuck mini babybels" to win a place against #BigCheese in MMC member Shane's heart, a crow is sacrificed, the terrorists cram into a shitty car with explosive materials, they run without bouncing to avoid exploding in an instant, and as Barry is loading a bomb with nails he is calling out anti-western things such as gynecologist. The overt subtlety goes on and on.
The sheer volume of quick comedic jabs make Four Lions a hit. What takes Four Lions from comedic hit (B grade) to somewhere in the range of incredible comedy is the ability to mix in shocking realism. When Hassan stands up in the lecture with a bombvest, the viewer doesn't know if it's real or a joke. Faisal exploding the sheep is sad and hilarious. And as the movie wraps up in a falafel shop and other small stores innocent people are murdered, but it's kind of funny in an uncomfortable way. The movie ends with an innoncent Pakistani in what will soon be a torturous situtation reminding the viewer of the West's role in war on "terror" which has consumed entirely too many lives.
Four Lions is a work of art which improves with each viewing and telling of its story. Dare I say this is a modern day Blazing Saddles where the sheriff has been replaced by mocking society's views on Islam. I'm stuck between an A- and A on this one.