Thursday, 8 September 2011

Four Lions

UK Release: 7th May 2010
Watched on TV: Thursday 8th September 2011
Rating: 15
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 1hr 37mins
IMDb Plot Summary: Four Lions tells the story of a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point. As the wheels fly off, and their competing ideologies clash, what emerges is an emotionally engaging (and entirely plausible) farce. In a storm of razor-sharp verbal jousting and large-scale set pieces, Four Lions is a comic tour de force; it shows that-while terrorism is about ideology-it can also be about idiots.

My Review: It is hard to know what to think about this film. 
It was built up as a comedy (only in Britain could we make a comedy about Terrorism, which I’m personally proud of, as it shows we’re not afraid the difficult subjects!) in the film’s marketing last year, and throughout the film, but by the end there’s this odd sadness and confusion that falls over you - there was no ‘happy ending’, they just all died. 
Yes, it is hilarious at times, but I couldn’t really connect emotionally with the film; I had no empathy for the characters as, not being a terrorist myself, I could not understand their motives in anyway. I watched mostly dumbfounded, especially during the scenes with Omar, his wife and young boy discussing their plans to kill themselves. 
It was mainly sickening, and while some scenes had black comedy like with the Crow being blown up or firing the bomb the wrong way in Pakistan, it was a little hard to laugh at it. It felt wrong to me. With no connection to the characters I just felt saddened that they felt their cause was the right thing to do. One scene that choked me up a little was when Omar told his wife that he’d “see her on the top floor” - what a horrendous way to say goodbye. And for his wife and son to think that what their husband and father is doing is a good thing was the most shocking part for me. Bringing up a child talking about terrorist martyrdom is just inexplicably wrong in my eyes - not the deaths of the crow, the sheep or any of the ‘bombers’ - but a child absorbing that toxic ideology. And I just can’t see through that. 
I did, however, appreciate the great performances from the actors, who made their characters believable even when I couldn’t identify with them. And the camera work was also brilliant with a lot of humour done through the angles and lighting, for instance seeing them all in plain sight through the curtains because they were using torches.
I can see why it was worthy of a BAFTA it was a controversial, funny, well-made film: due to this and the hype around the film last year I was looking forward to seeing what Four Lions was all about... and I don’t want to seem negative - it was interesting. I just need to connect with a film to be able to enjoy it more. This was more... awkward than entertaining unfortunately.
Score: 6/10

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