7 May, 2010
Summary: Four Lions is a comedy which follows the lives of five jihadists as they attempt to prove themselves - in the name of their religion - by plotting to commit an act of terrorism. The film focuses on their clueless ideas as they struggle to agree on even what building to target (with one recommending the mosque and another, a Boots store). The would-be terrorists attempt to plan an attack, while dealing with family issues and the police trying to track them down – after some badly-executed trials-runs.
My Favourite Scene: I found it very difficult to pick a favourite scene in ‘Four Lions’ because so many were brilliant. However I particularly liked a scene towards the end of the film, in which Waj has a hostage in a kebab shop – while on the phone to Omar, asking what he should do. Eventually the police storm the shop and Waj is sat with his hands up. He says: “Sorry lads. I don’t really know what I’m doing!”
I found this scene extremely humorous but also hard-hitting because it makes the point that Waj is in a situation, of which he does not understand the implications. While playing the fool, Waj also portrays how a person can become sucked into a way of life – believing that they are doing something for the right reason. Omar’s explanation of why they are doing it is along the lines of: it’s like being in the lines for the rides at Alton Towers. He poses the question to Waj, do you want to be in line or on the rides? I find this scene poignant because it highlights how easy it is to manipulate people in the name of religion.
My Favourite Quotes:
Omar: I'm taking my team up to the top floor now. I'll see you up there.
Barry: It's the parts... they're Jewish.
Omar: What parts in a car are Jewish?
Omar: What parts in a car are Jewish?
Malcolm Storge MP: The report makes crystal clear that the police shot the right man, but as far as I'm aware, the wrong man exploded. Is that clear?
My Thoughts: Apart from the hilarious script, I reason I really enjoyed this film and thought it was actually quite profound was because it gave a humanising affect to the idea of a ‘terrorist’. We currently have a view of suicide bombers being ‘evil’ and I’m definitely not justifying their actions, but this film conveys that terrorists are just people. They have jobs, partners and children, just like everybody else. I think when it comes to a subject, such as terrorism, we cannot just dismiss the people as ‘evil’ or whatever. To stop anything, it has to be prevented and that requires understanding. Four Lions displays the emotions of men who are prepared to sacrifice their lives in the name of their religion. There are comical scenes in the film, which are moving as well - such as Omar explaining to his son how his and Waj’s experience at a training camp went wrong, through a bedtime story based on The Lion King.
Another element in the film which I found interesting was that not only were the terrorists incompetent, but so were the police officers and politicians. From shooting down the wrong person in fancy-dress and claiming that actually the wrong person exploded, to a politician hiding underneath his desk when thinking a member of the public was a suicide bomber. It portrays a stupidity surrounding the issue, which was another refreshing angle to the film.
I think that Four Lions, like some of the funniest films, is comical because it takes a completely serious situation and twists it around. One would expect a film directed by Chris Morris (a satirist) to be just like this. Even the death of Faisal (who accidentally blows himself up while running with explosives) is rather hilarious – seeing the five ‘lions’ going down to four.
The only thing I’d have against the film is that it lacked the necessary one or two serious scenes, in which the ‘lions’ justified their actions. There was no proper explanation of why their religion asked them to do this, no mention of the Iraq war and no real questioning from their families – Omar’s wife smiled proudly when Omar told her he would ‘see you up there’. Despite this, overall I think that Four Lions is an excellent film. It is entertaining, original and thought-provoking.