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Four Lions (DVD Review)

1 Mar, 2011 By: Billy Gil

Street 3/8/11
Box Office $0.3 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language throughout, including some sexual references.
Stars Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Adeel Akhtar.

Four Lions attempts the difficult (and perhaps wrong-headed, depending on your outlook) task of finding comedy in a Jihadist suicide bombing. Miraculously, it’s mostly successful.

Omar (Riz Ahmed), an idealistic young man with a beautiful wife and child, leads a group of bumbling British men who are the equivalent of a radical Muslim three stooges. Omar and moronic Waj (Kayvan Novak) head to a Pakistani training camp, where they are ousted for making hip-hop inspired terrorist videos on their phones, possibly tipping off drones overhead. Meanwhile, Barry (Nigel Lindsay), a white convert, tries to teach the ropes to Hassan (Arsher Ali), who fakes a suicide bombing in an otherwise polite debate in an Ali G-style moment of clueless activism.

The film takes a turn for the serious when the men decide to actually carry out a suicide mission at the London Marathon, donning ridiculous costumes while bearing explosives underneath. Waj takes over a kebab shop, looking for solidarity with an uninterested employee, while Omar realizes Waj shouldn’t be involved and tries to convince him to drop the plan over the phone.

The most successful satire is able to find comedy where there shouldn’t be any, in the direst of situations. Director Chris Morris and his writing team should be applauded for the years of research put into the project and attempting to take on such a seemingly untouchable subject without kid gloves. We don’t understand why in the world these men would want to go through with their plan, but we nonetheless also come to see them as flawed, very real people and not just suicide bombers, however misguided they may be.

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