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Four Lions review

by Andy Gibbons

What is it?

Acclaimed satirist Chris Morris’s black comedy about a British born gang of would-be Muslim martyrs trying to carry out their plan to bring chaos and fear to the UK, sacrificing themselves in the process.

Lead by family man Omar (Riz Ahmed), we follow the ‘Lions’ as they try to get the blessing of Al Qaeda, decide on a target, stockpile homemade explosives and carry out their attack… which is no mean feat considering Omar’s ‘cell’ includes a blow-hard white Islamic convert (Nigel Lindsay), a shy and retiring odd man out (Adeel Akhtar) and a man so devoid of smarts (Kayvan Novak), he makes Mr. Bean look like Stephen Hawking.


What’s good?

Ahmed stands out as a man who truly believes in his path while Novak is heart-breaking as the Lennie Small to Omar’s George Milton. And Lindsay also catches the eye with a blunderbuss of a performance as someone who, you get the feeling, doesn’t really understand the cause, he just wants some aggro. The laugh out loud jokes come thick and fast (highlights include a reference to Mini Babybells and an exploding crow) while Morris’s dedication to see this through to the final credits is admirable. The CCTV of the final four preparing for their attack is eerily reminiscent of the 7/7 bombers on their way to London.

What’s bad?

The final act feels that little bit too long as the plan starts to go awry while Julia Davis’s cameo as a rather confused neighbour feels a bit unnecessary.

So basically…..

Morris has never been backward in coming forward and he takes no prisoners when it comes to exposing the hypocrisy of fundamentalism and the more literal interpretations of religious teachings. But this is also a touching and poignant story about a group of guys who you could just as easily imagine playing footy or having a pint together rather than plotting mass murder in the name of Allah. Be prepared to laugh but also be prepared to question and think. Could we have found the Life of Brian for the 21st Century?



Watch star Nigel Lindsay talk about Four Lions


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