Somebody once said that comedy is just tragedy plus time and Four Lions, a wicked, bitter and hilarious new comedy by Chris Morris, tests that maxim to breaking point (and for some of you, beyond it).
Back in the 90s, Morris was responsible for “Brass Eye”, a mock current affairs series that conned gullible celebrities and politicians into (for example) appearing in advertisements warning the nation against the new super drug ‘Cake’. Fearless and righteous in equal measure, he has made his first feature film and it dares to try and make us laugh at the first world’s current bogeyman, Islamo-terrorism, specifically the homegrown kind which led to the 2005 London bus and tube bombings.
In Sheffield, South Yorkshire, a group of wildly enthusiastic but incompetent jihadists (played superbly by Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Arsher Ali, Adeel Akhtar and Nigel Lindsay) would be making a stand if only they could stop bickering. A trip to a Pakistani training camp, bomb making classes, farewell videos and a trip to the London Marathon are all disasters but Four Lions is only 98% farce – there’s some heart in there too.