In bad taste? Quite possibly. Brilliant and hysterically funny?
Almost certainly. If I've learned anything about absolutely fearless
British satirist Chris Morris in the years that I have followed his
career it is very definitely to expect brilliance teetering on the edge
of no return. This is, after all, the man who once sparked public
protest by dedicated an entire episode of his mock-news program Brass Eye
to a satiric treatment of pedophilia or, rather, the media's handling of same.
And, if anything, Morris' debut feature Four Lions
- created with the help of Peep Show
writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong - is going to
be even more incendiary. He has, you see, created a comedy about
jihad. There is a fairly tame synopsis on the website of sales agents
The Wild Bunch but I greatly prefer this summary sent out to those who
signed up on an official email list dedicated to the project a while
Many people have asked us exactly what the Four
Lions project is. Clearly we can't launch the film before its been
shot, but I've pulled together a few paragraphs from the paperwork
that's been flying around. Its shameless hype but its accurate - unlike
almost everything you will have read in the press. No one who has read
the script could disagree with a word here.
In three years of research, Chris Morris has spoken to
terrorism experts, imams, police, secret services and hundreds of
Muslims. Even those who have trained and fought jihad report the
frequency of farce. At training camps young jihadis argue about honey,
cry for their mums, shoot each other's feet off, chase snakes and get
thrown out for smoking. A minute into his martyrdom video, a would-be
bomber looks puzzled and says "what was the question again?" On
millennium eve, five jihadis set out to ram a US warship. They slipped
their boat into the water and carefully stacked it with explosives. It
Terrorist cells have the same group dynamics as stag parties
and five a side football teams. There is conflict, friendship,
misunderstanding and rivalry. Terrorism is about ideology, but it's
also about berks.
Four Lions is a funny, thrilling fictional story that
illuminates modern British jihad with an insight beyond anything else
in our culture. It plunges us beyond seeing these young men as
unfathomably alien. It undermines the folly of just wishing them away
or alienating the entire culture from which they emerge. It understands
how terrorism relates to testosterone. It understands jihadis as human
beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous. As
Spinal Tap understood heavy metal and Dr Strangelove the Cold War, Four
Lions understands modern British jihadis.
Principal photography has now wrapped on the picture and editing begun
and the first three official stills have now been released. Check them
in the gallery below!
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