Tuesday, 10 August 2010
FILM REVIEW: FOUR LIONS
When Paul Greengrass released United 93 in 2006 (my favourite film of that year and easily one of this decade's best), just five years after the events of September 11, many thought it was too soon. Now, five years after the London bombings of July 2005, comes Four Lions, a tale of would-be suicide bombers in said city. Some may again suggest it is too soon and, as a comedy, certainly too soon to make light of.
But Four Lions isn't a recreation of those events in July '05 but a fly-on-the-wall look at how such an event may come about and the people behind it – if those people happened to be Grade-A idiots. For the terrorists in Chris Morris's film have the combined brainpower which struggles to blow-up a balloon let alone the London underground. But while their efforts are not as “successful” as planned, the results are no less disturbing.
Same goes for the film. For every laugh – and you may be surprised just how often you do laugh – there's an underlying seriousness. While the men here are, for the most part, more a danger to themselves than greater London, the flipside is just how dangerous they are regardless and just how much more effective they could be with a little more thought and discipline.
Morris, a noted political and media satirist in the UK, and his writers, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, have connections to Armando Iannucci who was responsible for this year's earlier political comedy, In The Loop. Four Lions shares much in common with that film – from the handheld camerawork to the delicate subject matter (In The Loop was concerned with the Iraq war) – and while it's not as uproariously funny as the earlier film, it hits just as many targets as it misses, so to speak.