Monday, December 6, 2010

If you don't see Four Lions, the terrorists win

Posted By on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Four Lions, Chris Morris' satire of a bumbling Jihadi terrorist cell in Britain, is outrageously funny — both as a sort of militant version of The Office (the British version) and for what it dares to joke about. In it, Omar (Riz Ahmed) tries to shepherd a group of Jihadi recruits down a righteous path toward martyrdom. Barry (Nigel Lindsay) would probably have been better off as a soccer hooligan. Another takes more inspiration from Tupac Shakur than the prophet Muhammad. But as they seek training in Pakistan and select suicide bombing targets, they engage in some darkly comic debates — about what the bare minimum requirements are for martyrdom, anti-surveillance tactics, whether they should bomb a mosque in order to radicalize Britain's moderate Muslims, etc. The film opens with the members filming their suicide bomber videos, all of which seem as informed and narcissistic as a bunch of teens on a webcam or Facebook. It's comically rich in the tradition of dry British humor. As satire, it's brilliant and unflinching, even about the bureaucratic efforts of police and intelligence agencies to thwart terrorism. And it's particularly edgy given how often one wonders during the film if it's just too wrong or too soon to joke about terrorism — while two wars continue, interminable paranoia about terrorists bubbles up in frustrations about airport security, and the fact that it wasn't so long ago (2004) that a Dutch filmmaker was killed after making a film critical of Islam. (A Danish cartoonist was threatened in 2005 after depicting Muhammad in a series of cartoons.)

More scenes, including the Mujahideen rap, after the jump. It screens at Zeitgeist at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, through Thursday, Dec. 16.

Muslim rap:

Below is an extra scene not in the film:

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