What happens when you make a comedy about Muslims planning to blow themselves up?
A very strange mix, that is for sure.
Following a group of young Muslim’s who are dead-set on bombing… something. The main character Omar (Riz Ahmed) is completely devoted to the case and even goes to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan with his friend Waj (Kayvan Novak) to prepare for their war. What follows is a sequences of unfortunate events.
When humor is criticism
British humor is something very specific. A lot of times it is very poignant. Looking at series like Extras the line between fun and social criticism is very thin. More than once British humor is less about funny situation but actually about people in discomforting situations (telling Sam Jackson he was great in Matrix to prove that you are not a racist – once again see Extras) and Four Lions definitely falls into this category.
It was a very odd experience to be sure and it kept getting stranger and stranger. I was not sure if I found it particularly funny given the gravitas of the subject. There were a few giggles in the beginning and I enjoyed the character of Barry (Nigel Lindsay) who converted to Islam and seems to be more about personal issues than any form of spiritual crusade. Yet the seriousness of the idea made it very tough to actually enjoy this movie or laugh a lot. Especially during the scenes in the terrorist camp I found it less funny than horrifying knowing that there are camps like this and the fact that the two protagonists aren’t getting the seriousness was not very funny to me.
There were two scenes involving a raven and a sheep that were pretty entertaining yet I felt more and more exhausted during the end of the film and was half-waiting for it to be finally over when the tides turned…
When a finale changes everything
Without spoiling everything there was a moment when the movie just “clicked” and I was hysterically rolling around. I couldn’t believe it and I don’t know why I reacted like this. I am sure that had I just scene the sequence that made me laugh so hard it wouldn’t have been half as entertaining. After the whole buildup witnessing the finale was just laugh out loud funny. I forgot all my problems I had were gone. Sometimes a movie just can have one scene that blows you away and you are happy with it.
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