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A ludicrous pageant of ineptitude... a 'How-Not-To Guide' to martyrdom
jamesgill-116 May 2010
Like Charlie Chaplin's Hitler, Chris Morris' 'Four Lions' shows that no subject can escape comic scrutiny; humour always seems to find the ability to expose the ridiculous in otherwise appalling situations. This satirical black comedy vents its disgust at the pseudo-morality of suicide bombing, whilst managing to portray its terrorists with an affection that allows the audience an unexpected emotional attachment with these supposed figures of violence.

The film follows a terrorist cell of blundering, inept, and impossibly stupid would-be suicide bombers on their quest towards martyrdom – we follow them failing miserably in a Pakistan training camp, trying to run through sheep fields whilst carrying bags of explosives, attaching bombs to crows, all the time creating a chaotic 'blooper' reel of attempted martyrdom videos. These suicide bombers are not the feared assassins of popular imagination, but absurd and easily led dupes who encourage laughter and ridicule – and significantly, in the end, pity.

The comedy of 'Four Lions' lies in the power of its bathos: the film reduces the dreaded spectre of suicide bombing to a ludicrous pageant of ineptitude. It's a film with fast laughs and dim wit in abundance, an absurd 'How Not-To Guide' to martyrdom.

However, the audience cannot help but feel pity for the characters as their plot reaches its climax. There is a sad inevitability to the group's last moments together; despite the horror of what the bombers are planning, the audience has been lulled into sympathising with their situation. The sadness of the film comes with the audience's realisation that these characters are regular, likable, funny, naive people – they are not monsters in themselves, but made monstrous by their susceptibility to absurd, immoral teachings.

The lead character Omar's interactions with his wife and young son are painful in their twisted depiction of the ideal family unit. At one point Omar (played by Riz Ahmed) tells his son a bedtime story about 'Simba's Jihad'. It is a scene that is touching, funny and uncomfortable all at once, a reflection of our responses to the film as a whole.

'Four Lions' is provocative in its comic parody of an emotional subject, but there is never any sense that it wishes to be deliberately inflammatory. Instead, the story is told with warmth and sharp humour; it offers us a fine concoction of derision and sympathy, pulling at our affections whilst cutting the terrifying down to the clownish.

James Gill ------ Find more reviews, news and previews at
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both hilarious comedy and contemporary social commentary
destroy-apathy25 March 2010
The film can be approached from two angles; as a comedy and as an important contemporary cultural text. As a comedy it succeeded beyond expectations. Part of the pleasure surely came from the spectacle of the event; a sold out screening with cast and crew present along with regional cultural references that resonated infectiously with many in the audience, but this can take nothing away from the many levels of comedy at work within this film. There were elements of overacted screwball comedy; there were underplayed facial expressions and reactions that added a wealth of character and personality to the comedy; further still, there were elaborately constructed situational set pieces. All these elements along with explosively dynamic dialogue that was well delivered combined to send the audience into tears of laughter.

In a separate issue to the comedy there was the cultural commentary, which is always going to draw attention when it is such a taboo subject as Jihad: a word that is often avoided at all costs. The film unapologetically offers a plethora of questions around motivation, meaning and justification which it never falls into the trap of giving patronizing, melodramatic answers to nor does it preach any solutions.

The many characters were all utilised to give different points of views and different perspectives; the main protagonist Omar (Riz Ahmed) was fully fleshed out, with the other characters used to offer differing ideas and obviously the above mentioned comic relief. Omar's brother for instance had such a minor part but raises questions around what he considers a true following of Islam, which he promotes as peaceful, but is then exposed as intrinsically sexist due to the way he practically locks his wife in a cupboard. That being said, Islam itself was to a large extent sidelined and the film much more overtly dealt with identification and senses of belonging for a demographic that has partial but not complete grips on the many angles of where its identity is created; this includes Barry (Nigel Lindsay), the Caucasian convert amongst the group.

Four Lions is easily funny enough to reach a very wide audience, where viewers will be left without answers and therefore forced to discuss these issues, which are too often brushed under the proverbial rug.

twitter - @destroyapathy
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Expected laughs < Actual laughs
bladou3 September 2010
I'm no easy viewer and too often do I find myself being bored while watching a movie, or just barely interested.

I wasn't expecting much from this one and after a quick reading of the synopsis, I just thought "say whaat ?". As a reminder you might check again the IMDb summary and try to picture it seriously, you would expect some "sofa talking action" - as a friend would describe movies that have more dialogs than action scenes.

Long story short : that is, without any doubts, the most stupidly funny movie I've seen this year and if you haven't seen it already ... just go (Ok to be honest, I would also put Revenge of the Fallen even if its last year, the level of stupidity is clearly enough for a couple of years).

Whatever you are looking in a movie this one will deliver, it is filled with dumb-touching characters despite their "mission" as terrorists. The acting is not only great as a comedy but just strait out great, any one in the movie have something special and memorable.

Hell, you could even try to get a social commentary out of it but that'd be a long stretch, it's meant to be a comedy with a soul not just the usual "a few scenes funny and forget me next week" kind of movie.

I was really pleased to find this gem completely by chance and hope you will too as this is how comedy films are meant to be.
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Dark and incredibly funny satire on religious martyrdom
joebloggscity4 June 2010
In the UK, Chris Morris is famous for the very controversial "Brasseye" series, and he has taken that iconoclastic attitude to the big screen to help create this wonderful little film.

It's a crude yet intelligent satire on a group of young men who want to be martyrs for the Islamic Al-Qaeda in the UK. Rather than portray them as dark shadowy men, they are really just everyday bumblers and naive men. The frightening aspect is that despite the humour, they are aiming to mass murder which always is behind the scenes.

The film uses humour to demystify the self-styled jihadists and take away any sort of menacing notoriety and show them as the frightening bunglers that they are. The fear is when one group actually manages to carry out what they set out to do.

This film is worth watching. You will be rolling with laughter, but you will end the film with many thoughts on the questions raised also. It's simply another great bit of political satire, and I recommend it highly.
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Powerful and very, very funny.
come2whereimfrom21 April 2010
Chris Morris has never been one to shy away from subjects that others would call taboo or simply just wrong and that isn't going to change with his latest film 'Four Lions' the story of a group of wannabe suicide bombers. Not the most jovial of subjects I hear you cry, but how wrong could you be? For here we have not only a truly funny film but also a poignant one and one of the best British films of the last decade. Meticulous to detail Morris spent over five years researching the films central themes of terrorism and religion and a lifetime of studying human behaviour and it's only with this foundation that he, along with co writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show), could have made such a brilliant film. You will laugh and hard, then you will realise what it is you are laughing at take a breath and then laugh some more. In the same way that the recent American remake of Battlestar Galactica dealt in allegories of the war on terror, politics and human nature but just happened to be set in space 'Four Lions' just happens to be set in a terrorist cell and in his own admission Morris admitted that he wanted to explore group dynamics that could be found either in a football team, a club of sorts or the guys in this movie. It is so cleverly done that at no point is the film patronising or preachy it just makes you think about the absurd nature of how people think and what lengths they will go to for something they believe in. The film also contains some scenes of the gang spending normal time with their families, even discussing their plans with the children and it's in these scenes that we given over to the idea that they are ordinary people about to do something extraordinary. The cast play their roles, not only with great comic timing, but with an understanding of the subject matter that reflects in their performances. The script is so sharp that not only will you miss stuff on first viewing you will be quoting it for months to come. It is well shot and perfectly paced but let's not forget that this is satire of the highest order and in that there will be elements that might not appeal to all. But if you think you can stomach it then let me assure you that you will see one of the funniest films from one of Britain's most underrated and genuinely talented comedians. Rubber dingy rapids.
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Deserves 20 stars
DaveFilmlover8 September 2011
Have just caught this on Film 4. In my humble opinion it is up there with " Monty Pythons Life of Brian" as a very funny satire on religious 'nutters'. The gag with the Crow had me in tears of laughter. Well done to Chris Morris, it shows up so called "home grown terrorists" for the pathetic (but dangerous) creatures they are. However this film is so funny it actually decreases the sometimes unfounded fear (whipped up by the tabloid press) that is instilled in the population. The acting is first rate. The cast play it seriously, which only emphasise the humour even more. Have since watched it again, and it's one you can return to repeatedly and still get the same laugh out loud experience. I feel very sorry for the poor reviewers that didn't get it!
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Four Lions celebrates that one aspect of humanity that each and every one of us share, no matter what creed or culture we come from: stupidity
Mr_Jellyfish24 November 2011
People familiar with Chris Morris' early work, from Jam to Brass Eye, will not be surprised to hear that his feature debut is a darker than black comedy focusing on the madness of humanity. However, few could have predicted the film would be quite as brave as this; following a group of radicalised Jihadi terrorists (from Sheffield) as they attempt to blow themselves up for Islam.

Shot in an almost documentary/fly-on-the-wall style that recalls the excellent BBC2 comedy The Thick of It, Four Lions feels very personal, as we spend time with these confused individuals and, yes, begin to like them. Omar is the most identifiable character out of the five would-be terrorists, which is ironic because he is also the most driven to commit the terrible act. As the film progress, we follow Omar and his ever trusting but dim-witted friend Waj, as they go to Pakistan to make a name for themselves in a terrorist training camp (this, it has to be said, quite literally backfires). We also witness the volatile Barry, a convert to Islam, as he attempts to train the timid Faisal and newcomer Hassan. While Barry is certainly no genius, we do at times enjoy his exasperation as Faisal, a man who trains crows to be bombers, buys hundreds of bottles of bleach from the local corner shop, or the nervous Hassan raps about his jihad much to everyone else's confusion.

Despite the comedy element of Four Lions, it is still a film that understands, better than any other terrorist themed movie, what drives these people to do what they do. While bigger, perhaps more critically acclaimed- films are happy to take George Bush's insightful view on what motivates a fundamentalist (that they are all friends of Satan), Four Lions offers us something that may seem strange but is ultimately rewarding; it humanises them.

Now, it must be emphasised that by humanising the Terrorists, Chris Morris has not only made them all the more terrifying but also celebrates that one aspect of humanity that each and every one of us share, no matter what creed or culture we come from: stupidity. During the three years Chris Morris spent researching the project, he came across countless true stories that are so absurd and mind-numbingly dumb that they could easily have been in the film. The fact that the Terrorists are from Britain has a particular poignancy; the film deals with the issue that these people aren't just men in masks, they're British, as Morris says "They're part of the landscape", it's not as simple as black and white, or good and evil.

Omar has a loving wife and an awed, bright eyed little boy, a family that he loves and who support his war on the Western world. These moments of tenderness and humanity only showcase how confused and misled Omar and his friends are. By the end of the film there are moments of real tragedy, albeit with a kind of gallows humour, as the group begin to realise just how confused they really are about they're ideals, about right and wrong and the reasons for why they do what they do. Four Lions is a film that parodies terrorism in the same way Dads Army parodies the Nazis, in a kind of fairy tale moral; we need to laugh at the terror to vanquish it. But in creating a comedy that actually understands the humanity and stupidity in Terrorism, Chris Morris has made a film that is as meaningful as it is funny.
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A rare naturally funny film
areatw22 November 2016
I remember the first time I saw this film, thinking it was one of the funniest I had ever seen, and I haven't seen many that have made me laugh as much since. Chris Morris is known for black comedy and 'Four Lions' is certainly fantastically dark.

The plot, the characters, the dialogue - everything about the film is funny. The stupidity of the main characters combined with the absurdity of their plans make this a truly hilarious film and a great piece of entertainment.

'Four Lions' is a comedic gem. A rare naturally funny film that is guaranteed to make you laugh.
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A Nutshell Review: Four Lions
DICK STEEL1 September 2011
Four Lions may be a black comedy, but the subject matter is anything but, dealing with the real threat of self radicalized men who take it upon themselves to wage what they deem is a holy war against the infidels of their religion, capitalism and Western ideals, about the men who are frighteningly misguided in their beliefs which we may find absurd, but they holding it very dearly to their hearts, nevermind if it's actually the blind leading the blind.

Co-written and directed by Christopher Morris, the film follows the journey of a few friends and acquaintances brought together by Barry (Nigel Lindsay), a self-styled firebrand convert and Omar (Riz Ahmed) the unofficial leader who assemble like minded radicals to take on what they felt is a path of righteousness and a fast track to heaven, nevermind if for narrative purposes his recruitment tactics is questionably risky at best (not to mention funny, I did say it was a comedy). It's almost like a satire on the 101 basics on how one transforms from all talk to all action, going on trips to Pakistan to meet up with mujahedins or holy warriors in order to learn the ropes in becoming soldiers and tested in battle, to the assembling of explosives, deciding on a target and then executing it, complete with the quintessential video recordings to explain the rationale behind the deeds.

It parodies many of what you've seen and read in the news, and while you may dismiss it as making light of dead serious situations, here's where its brilliance emerged. From within the comedy that come fast and furious that you find yourself inevitably laughing at the clueless wannabes, there are moments of poignancy especially when you realize that the wannabes have gone way past the point of no return, and with the wheels of destruction set in motion, there's no turning back really. In a way it reflects upon how detection of the clandestine activities may sometimes be stranger than fiction, but it is usually missed opportunities, especially with the countless of screw ups that go undetected, that serve as the real threat to society with prejudices and discrimination at play.

Ultimately those who truly suffer are friends and especially family, and the story does not mince that impact even though most are centered around the closing credits in an epilogue. Family isn't far behind especially when time got devoted to focus on the ringleader's, that here's a man willing to sacrifice what's worldly for a calling so perceived higher than self and for the greater good. Not only those on the other side of the law get put in a spotlight, but how the authorities and politicians behave got their fair share of critique, though in a fashion of less being more.

Four Lions adopted the shaky cam throughout which in a way tried to mirror a documentary, and to some this may be tiring to watch since the camera bounces around and doesn't stay still for the most parts. This is perhaps the only aspect of the film that I disliked, though you'll soon find yourself tickled if you pay close attention to the dialogue which were thoroughly filled with wickedly funny lines. The trailer may have accidentally revealed the funnier, slapstick aspects of the film, but its wit was firmly found in the spoken words.

Riz Ahmed is as charismatic a ringleader as he can be, and Kayvan Novak plays Waj his less than intelligent friend and blind follower with a sense of sensitivity that will tug at your heart when Omar realizes what he had done, and you'll definitely feel something for the Waj character when you ponder over how many real world counterparts who exist in the real world, being all too trusting with their leaders in being lambs laid out for slaughter, conned with an ideal of a promise. Adeel Akhtar's Faisal the bomb maker will nearly always make you laugh at his naivety and sheer stupidity, being one of the characters that draw the most laughs besides Waj.

It's easy to lapse into stereotypes and branding a message of hate, but Four Lions is nothing of that sort. What it does is to make one sit up and take notice of the troubles that are plaguing our modern day society, where there are those who do not feel inclusive, and decide to take it upon themselves to address their grievances through the use of violence. It's seriousness hidden under the guise of comedy, and I dare say you'll get more out of this film than from whatever else that's screening this week. Highly recommended!
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Chris Morris strikes again
MarcusJ1310 May 2010
Chris Morris has had his fair share of approaching controversial subjects such as the brilliant Brass Eye. I so wanted this to be an hilarious film as it was a long time since I had really good laugh in the cinema. Here is another social commentary this time on terrorism and I was optimistic that this was going to be the laugh I was looking for even if the subject is controversial. The actual terrorists though are inept and have no real grasp of what they are trying to do.We follow them making plans and deciding that they want to strike the London Marathon. The question being asked all the time is can a film about suicide bombers ever be funny? Well the answer to that question in my view is yes because it is more about characters being so bad at something and presenting themselves in a bizarre sense. They are delivered in such an amusing manner that I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the sheer lunacy. In comedy itself being generally stupid and incompetent is something that in my view is extremely difficult to get right and can easily escalate to farce. In Four Lions though the acting is good enough and set up well enough that it doesn't feel like they are just dumping situations on screen and putting in random moments designed to gain comedic measure. One scene in particular when the group are forced to carry their bombing equipment on foot after their car breaks down. It has to be seen as it is just brilliant. In this the scenes are set up and the comedy is delivered very well. The humour can get quite dark and sick at times but not so much that it isn't funny nonetheless. I can understand why some people would shun this film and the humour is definitely not by all means universal but I would recommend it as it is a funny satire that you may enjoy. It is quite understandable if you don't though.
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We is gunna' blow up the internetz!
Luke_judkins31 August 2010
This is the sort of film at first glance you believe shouldn't work. Just looking at what it's meant to be, a parody/comedy about British Muslim terrorists. My first thoughts were 'Too Soon?'. But then I realised this is just a mockery on something that has had a big impact on us all.

The film is based around a group of Jihadists that are planning to cause a terror attack on Britain but the group leading this attack is just full of oddballs which gives for great slapstick comedy and some memorable quotes that served the film well.

Christopher Morris has done himself good with this film and the final ten minutes were really an eye-opener to me. I recommend that this film should be seen by people who won't take this film seriously, it's a gimmick. That's the only reason the film's story worked, if it wasn't funny the film raters wouldn't have let this film be shown. So take the 100 minutes or so to sit down and enjoy laughter all the way through.

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More than a meow
rooee11 May 2010
With The Day Today and its more acerbic follow-up Brasseye, supreme satirist Chris Morris made a mockery of the madness of the popular media by saying what he saw. It was funny because it could have been true. With Four Lions, Morris's focus is no longer on the manipulator, but rather the manipulated. Yet by presenting this jihad suicide squad as a group of bumbling misfits, chugging along the road to apotheosis in a car fitted with dodgy "Jewish spark plugs", it's still about the madness – here, the madness of a cracked ideology believed in mostly because it's made up as it goes along.

This is not really a film about Islam, or even religious fundamentalism, but identity. Omar (an excellent Riz Ahmed) speaks fluently about the "Church of McDonald's" and Western imperialism, and yet he's at the centre of a comfortable, suburban, upper working class family unit. Hassan (Arsher Ali) is an awkward, gangly virgin with a bone to pick with his Media Studies teacher. Barry (Nigel Lindsay, who some might remember playing a terrorist of a different creed in HBO's Rome) is white.

For all their misadventures, there's a genuine tenderness and loyalty between these "soldiers". This is a side of Morris we've rarely seen before – an emotional spine that raises the film far above what could have resembled a series of sketches or, worse, a reel of better outtakes. Perhaps this is the film's greatest success: bringing its director out of the satirical shadows and into the comedy spotlight, and proving there's a heart to go with that clever head.
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Brave Black Comedy
gary-44410 May 2010
Home grown Asian suicide bombers are not an obvious choice for Comedy. But Director Chris Morris makes a surprisingly good job of it in a work which is skilfully written and performed. The best humour has a ring of truth about it. And so it is true here. The plot moves from satire, to slapstick to straight forwards storytelling, and back, at quite a pace leaving the audience to make its own mind up about whether certain bits are intended to be funny, or just turn out that way. That ambiguity is probably the film's strongest suit.

A strong cast of Jihadists struggle to get a team together, struggle to get to a Training Camp in Pakistan from which they are sent home in disgrace, indeed they struggle to complete any task successfully. Yet they are not portrayed as buffoons. Never before has Muslim culture been lampooned like this, yet Morris shows it in such a way that they are Everyman jokes and should not cause offence to anyone.

The fact that this is low budget works to its advantage. The script and acting win and the documentary style filming gives it an authenticity which is vital for the humour to prosper. Riz Ahmed stars as Chief Jihadist Omar, but Nigel Lindsay steals the show as a Caucasian Muslim convert. Preeya Kalidas has a frustrating, underwritten role as Omar's wife. A nurse, and a mother we never really get her insight into the prospect of her husband, and father of her son, embracing martyrdom, even though she pokes fun at an over zealous cleric when he visits their home.

At 100 minutes, the film ends when it needs to, in dramatic and compelling style and does not out stay its welcome. For some this will not be funny enough, for others it will simply be in poor taste. But we should be proud that this sort of comedy simply could not be made in America, and is the first cinematic attempt to deal with a relatively new, and disturbing, social phenomena.
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Solidly funny. Poignant. Educative.
dangabriel1 May 2011
We can reliably expect the British to attack the unassailable, to break conventions and taboos, to go where no Hollywood would dare upon the pain of financial ruin and political corectness' ostracizing. So here comes the mujahid director Chris Morris, with a very believable cast of British would-be terrorists.

The humour is solid, at times subtle and inducted gently and other times visually compelling, evident laughter. The would be martyrs run out of power while shooting their farewell video. They use replica guns. Any malfunctioning car has "Jewish parts" in it. They want to bomb mosques to "awaken the moderates" all during which they must beware of being monitored. Their biggest fear is being captured by the US forces and force-fed Viagra, then shown on YouTube having sex with dogs. And it goes on and on 'till it hurts.

The extras come with some very educative research segments on real-life interviews with Muslims in the UK and the actual race-relations today.

The movie fills a very necessary space, as one of those liberty of expression landmarks which will make us regard the suicide bombers as not only criminals, but hopelessly stupid. Must see watching! read my other reviews at
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Excellent original film made primarily for a British Audience.
john-551511 May 2010
4 Lions is an excellent well thought out film with a great pace, very funny, and very thoughtful.

After watching the film I wondered at some of the choices Morris had made concerning the depth of the characters in the film and their motivation. On reflection I could see the extremely clever and thoughtful way that he had written the script. This film is a fantastic means of attacking the media's paniced frenzy regarding Muslim extremist's bomb attacks.

I went to this film with no more knowledge then 'it's a black comedy about Muslim extremist bombers in Britain written and directed by Chris Morris'. Although I have followed Chris Morris' work throughout his television career. I didn't know what to expect at all - whether it would work or not. Some friends who said they had seen the trailer for it at the cinema said it didn't look that good. It proved to be very good.

It entertains very well and holds your attention. But the depth of the film is that after it you have plenty of thoughts on the subject matter and they all encourage an open minded re-exploring of thoughts on the Muslim communities in Britain and the media's frenzy around terrorism and Muslim communities in Britain.

There are specific parts of the film which are so clever in how they raise questions that I'd love to talk about them but I'd spoil the film. I think that it's best to go see the film and enjoy it as great entertainment. On the way out of the cinema all the issues involved will be real food for thought.

One of the thoughts I had after leaving was that Chris Morris had perhaps written this with the first audience in his mind as British Muslims and not in any patronising or preaching way, but further thought made me believe the film was for all English people specifically. Undoubtedly this film can work internationally and is well worth watching if you are from some other country. But it was great that Morris had made no concessions to this so he could tell the story the way he wanted to.

Other nationalities watching the film may well have trouble with some of the dialogue but you'll be OK. Watch this film, it's undoubtedly the most important film to come out of the UK for a very long time, and what's more it's bloody good entertainment.
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It shouldn't really work... but it does
bowmanblue14 July 2014
Okay, so the makers of this film must have known that what they were doing would court controversy, but they did it anyway. 'Four Lions' tells the tale of a 'cell' of British Muslims who are plotting various – lethal – terrorist attacks on Britain. That wouldn't be that controversial in itself if the film was a drama, but it isn't – it's a comedy – a pretty black one definitely.

Therefore, you will always get a certain percentage of the audience who claims that this sort of area should be 'off limits' and not something to be made fun of. Those people will hate it no matter what and vote it one star (probably either before it was release, or without ever actually watching it).

Yes, it covers a taboo issue, but, although it chooses to mock certain people, it goes to great lengths never to make any sweeping statements about such as how 'all Muslims are terrorists,' or something equally as crass. The central protagonists may wish to cause loss of life through their actions, but you can see that they're the minority of the minority. They're misguided and truly believe that what they're doing is for the greater good.

You may also think that it would therefore be pretty hard to ever find much to like about this crowd of terrorists. Yet, you may even find yourself actually liking them, even if you totally disagree with what they do/stand for.

You definitely need a broad/black sense of humour to fully appreciate this. There are plenty of laughs to find in there, just don't try and pre-judge it on what some people's 'knee-jerk' reactions to the subject matter were.

If nothing else... you'll learn the difference between a Wookie, a bear and the Honey Monster.
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Possibly the best British film ever
pellis-096094 April 2017
A film not given its full credit due to its "controversial" content. From rubber dingy rapids to blowing up the internet to Barry (the most extreme member of the gang) it is hilarious. Will probably come with an advisory warning in the near future and what a shame that will be.

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Brilliant Filmmaking
chicagopoetry4 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I was delighted to have stumbled upon Four Lions. This fast paced comedy / drama is quite controversial in that it mixes the serious subject matter of a sleeper cell of suicide bomber terrorists with dialogue that sounds like it has come straight out of any episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It is hilarious and silly but somehow it never once escapes reality (like Spinal Tap does) so that we actually believe such bungling, misguided people like this might actually exist. It also portrays the jihadist as a human being with flaws, which is something some people simply might not want to contemplate, given the stereotypes that exist in the Fox News world. Each wacky scenario that is portrayed could actually happen, making this satire highly engaging (in a Slapshot fashion) and allowing us to feel for the characters. The violent ending leaves us wondering exactly what we were laughing at and why were we laughing at it. Four Lions is one of the most thought provoking films I have ever seen.
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Who Knew that Suicide Bombing Could Be So Much Fun?
TheExpatriate70026 November 2011
Four Lions is an excellent dark comedy that aspires to be the Dr. Strangelove of the War on Terror. Although it does not reach the heights of that masterpiece, it is still a great film that will leave you laughing. Who knew that suicide bombing could be so much fun?

The film centers around a group of inept would be terrorists as they plan a strike in the UK. These plotters are so incompetent that they get themselves kicked out of terrorist training camp. Just to make things worse, they are saddled with Barry, a loud mouthed British man who has converted to jihadism.

The film mines lots of jokes from the absurdity of the terrorists' plots, with the conspirators coming up with the most bizarre plans possible. Highlights include a crow suicide bomber and a very unlucky sheep.

At the same time, the film manages to humanize its characters, particularly the lead conspirator Omar. Riz Ahmed gives a genuinely moving performance, showing us the family man as well as the terrorist. Indeed, at times the film strains credibility by depicting his equal relationship with his wife Sofia, which one would not expect to find with a militant jihadist.

Contrary to the accusations of some conservative critics that the film paints a glamorous picture of terrorism, the ending emphasizes the waste of terrorism, and the stupidity of the jihadis themselves. This is what makes it such a great film-it draws laughs even while making a serious point.
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Everyone is a giant f|_|ck-up
huh_oh_i_c20 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Huge *SPOILERS* ahead!!!

The movie is about five really incompetent jihadists, and it's a REALLY good example of why British humour is superior to American humour, which is not that hard, or European humour (harder) to do.

The story is that these four guys, Pakistani blokes, are gonna be terrorists, and they set out to be jihadists.

It's hard to say who gets mocked more: the War on Terror, the CIA who fights it, or the would-be jihadists themselves/Al Queda. Because it's shown that the so-called terrorist threat is largely exaggerated. And, we ARE TOO reminded of the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, who actually WERE pretty incompetent.

Is making fun of a terror threat disrespectful of the victims of terror attacks? Some might feel offended, but in the end, thinking about this stuff in a humouristic and philosophical way is the best way to get over it. You can't sit around feeling all depressed for the rest of your life.

This film is a reinforcement of the observation that most criminals are quite stupid. Same goes for terrorists. It's when you get SMART terrorists, who think things trough, that mayhem ensues.

I really don't remember WHY i downloaded this, but I am really glad I did, because as per usual i knew literally NOTHING about the movie before I started watching it.

Why is this such a great movie? Well, perhaps, because the would be terrorist are so sincere, but also so clumsy, which makes the five friends so endearing. But mostly because the main message is that every one of us, is a huge f|_|ck up. All we humans do is mucking about and muddling through, and that point is especially driven home by the police and anti-terrorist snipers who, of course, get the wrong guys, kill innocent bystanders and arrest all the wrong people.

The only beef I have with this is that Kayvan Novak (Waj) seems a bit too manly and handsome to play the role of the Big Dumb Bloke.

I like the ending. It would have been wrong to have a happy ending, since happy endings are just stories that aren't finished yet.

Especially Omar, when he realizes that he's the last one, AND is the smartest of the bunch, still walks into the chemists and does his thing. I wasn't even really sad about it, the way I'm usually sad about these films where a group of friends die one by one. It was perfectly fitting: the incompetent bombers all die, and they die pretty meaningless deaths.

So, yes, everyone is a giant f-up. Except for the makers of this film, of course ... ;).

9/10 The Melancholic Alcoholic.
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Original, hilarious- and shifts the perspective on the 'why' of terror
sap_chick28 November 2010
This is not a perfect movie, but it's a damn funny one - and, it turns out, an important one.

In the US, since 2001 our ethos is that Muslims hate freedom, and hate America because of our freedom, and that drives their hatred of us. "Four Lions" presents an alternative view - the "bunch of guys" view...You have a bunch of guys who want to be great, who want to stand for something, and they need only the thinnest of common purpose and outlet for doing it (i.e., becoming 'martyrs to the cause'). And they don't have to be geniuses... by a long shot. In fact, usually they're not.

Omar works as a security guard and suffers sleep-inducing monologues by his colleague through their shift. His wife is a nurse, and they have a young son. (I wish the film went further to explain why his wife is okay with the fact that he wants to kill people - and himself, thus widowing her and leaving his beloved son behind.) His brother is a strict Muslim who is ironically too conservative for Omar and his wife's taste. Thus falls the first assumption: that terrorists must be fundamentalist Muslims.

Omar and his 'simple' cousin are thrilled to be called to Pakistan for training - but once there, are completely out of their element, and in over their heads. Back home, the group of misfit would-be terrorists clash over their purpose, and disagree about the prerequisites for martyrdom... Thus falls a second assumption: that terrorists are united in a single purpose and belief.

The director explained that in his research, time and time again he found laugh-inducing real examples of stupid or ignorant terrorists, like the Koran-quoting terrorist who got his quotes so wrong, the interviewer corrected him; or the guy filled with "suppository explosives" who got within hand-shake distance of a Saudi prince before detonating himself - and shooting 50 feet through the roof of the tent in which they were standing, killing only himself. "Four Lions" echos this reality, and breaks down the myth of the highly-skilled, zealous fundamentalist who hates freedom.

Instead, we have groups of marginalized young men seeking a purpose and a voice, who think they will find a greatness in martyring themselves they'd be unable to achieve in 'regular life', mislead - sometimes intentionally - by a skewed comprehension of their holy book.

"Four Lions" will keep you laughing, even if you find it hard to believe that you're watching a case of art imitating life. NOTE: the accents are very thick in this one, so those who have difficulty with Guy Ritchie movies or similar may wish to buy this off iTunes and watch with subtitles instead.
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Surprisingly good, surprisingly funny
neil-47626 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I knew that Four Lions was about an Islamic terrorist cell made up of "home grown" UK terrorists, I knew that it was a comedy, and I knew that the man behind it was Chris Morris, a man whose TV satire can sometimes be a bit too savage for its own good.

And this film is a bit savage, too. But, let's be fair, it is very, very funny.

The film takes the form of a fly on the wall style documentary, following a mismatched group of Muslims - sincere family man Omar, moderate idiot Fessal, complete idiot Waj, diffident Hassan, and psychotic idiot firebrand convert Barry. Barry's master plan is to inflict jihad on a mosque to that Muslims will rise up because they will think Jews did it.

This film is uncomfortably close to home, and never mocks Islam, although it does mock the way some people interpret Islam for their own ends. But it also mocks the police and the establishment. And, with the exception of Omar, who has a clear vision of what he wants to accomplish and why (one may not agree with him, but he is sincere and devout about his intentions), all the others are deluded to a lesser or (usually) greater degree.

What happens in this film isn't funny in the slightest but, often, the way it happens is very funny indeed. I laughed out loud a lot, to my great surprise.

But it is very, very, dark.
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Uncomfortable hilarity? Yes but it's worth it.
symonm16 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The most difficult film I've ever felt like commenting upon but... It's funny. Really, really funny in places, the sort of funny where you can't stop thinking about the joke long after it's gone.

The complete absurdity of the situation (four bungling British would-be jihadists trying to plot a suicide bombing while clearly enjoying all the privileges of the life they claim to hate) is exactly what you would expect from a Chris Morris offering and as long as you understand what it is that he does and more importantly why, this film works. Of course the subject matter is perhaps difficult to watch and will be offensive to some but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have merit.

Individual moments of genius comedy abound. Lines such as "Rubber Dingy rapids bro" and "Wookie down, the Wookie is down" live long in the memory and that is the mark of good comedy.

It is uncomfortable in places. The poignancy of Omar's family life with his beautiful wife and loving son, the innocent idiocy of Waj and the unspoken reasons why Barry may have converted to fundamental Islam, all show the other side of life and why ultimately this film is about lack of tolerance and a deep ignorance of what is important in life. Whatever your colour, creed or religion.

I believe that I know what Chris Morris was doing here and because of that I found Four Lions hilarious and touching, not offensive and sick, but it is a fine line and I can see why some wouldn't touch it. That is their loss as at it's heart, this is just a great British comedy.
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Completely original dark comedy
allegre-raul21 June 2011
I loved this movie. Right from the hilarious first scene goofing on the would-be terrorists trying to make a jihad video, you know you're watching a movie unlike any you've seen before. I guess it would be considered a dark comedy because you have lots of comedy but at the same time the terrorists are still committed to becoming martyrs and taking out the unbelievers. The movie if filled with hilarious scenes as the group travels to martyrdom - from making jihad videos, arguing over bombing targets, buying bomb ingredients without arousing suspicion, attending a terrorist training camp, etc... I kept wondering how they were going to keep the comedy going as the group finally set it's deadly serious plan into action, but the film manages to not miss a beat. In fact some of the funniest scenes are during the group's attempt at terrorism at the end.

The thick British accents and lingo made the movie funnier, however this was also a problem at times, causing me to miss jokes because I just couldn't understand the dialog (lots of fast talking, mumbling, whispering, etc...). If ever a movie needed closed captioning, this is it. That's my only criticism.
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It's funny & touching at the same time...
ajs-109 April 2011
I have wanted to see this one for some time, the DVD has been lurking in the 'To Watch' pile too long and it's time has come today. I was intrigued by this one partly because I live in the north of England, not too far from where it is set and I live in a town that has quite a large Muslim population. For the record, I subscribe to no religion myself, but can I understand how many people are drawn to them. It's a very remarkable film with an interesting mix of comedy and drama set in the Muslim community city of Sheffield. I'll give you my thoughts after this brief summary (summary haters, and those that don't wish to know about the plot, please move the explosives to the safe house while I write the next paragraph).

A bunch of radical Muslims are preparing to martyr themselves for their faith. They are; Omar, Barry, Waj and Faisal. The only problem is, they are quite stupid and don't seem to be able to get it together. To this end, Omar and Waj go off to a training camp in Pakistan, leaving Barry and Faisal to hold the fort back home. While they are away, Barry, who is very vocal about 'the cause' recruits another member of the team, Hassan. On their return, Omar and Waj tell the others they have the go-ahead. They make some explosives which prove quite effective in blowing up crows, as Faisal finds out. After one of their number is killed in an accident, and much debate, they decide on a target . They now have to put their words into action, but will things go according to plan? I'll leave my summary here, don't want to give it all away.

Although it was made on a small budget, I thought this was a very well made film with an excellent script and some really good performances. Riz Ahmed was excellent as Omar, as was Nigel Lindsay as Barry. I also thought Kayvan Novak played the part of the naive Waj very well and Adeel Akhtar as Faisal and Arsher Ali as Hassan were also very good. Also a mention for Preeya Kalidas as Sofia, Omar's wife.

There are many funny moments in this film and much of that is down to an excellent script by Christopher Morris, Simon Blackwell, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong and the performances from the entire cast. I also found the film very touching, there were moments of real tenderness between Omar and his wife and great friendship amongst the group. Over all, it's a very funny film that deals with quite a tricky subject in a very interesting way. It makes the terrorists look like idiots while at the same time showing that they are only human. Would I watch it again?… Yes! Recommended.

My Score: 7.8/10
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