267) Four Lions (2010) Dir: Chris Morris Date Released: November 2010 Date Seen: August 27, 2010 Rating: 4/5
I had a recent discussion with Bill Ryan about this film and have found that I probably respect and admire what Morris accomplished with Four Lions now more than before. The immediate comparison that people made upon seeing Four Lions was naturally to In the Loop. This makes sense to a point: Armando Ianucci and Morris were collaborators and remain contemporaries of each other. But beyond that, both films and iconic British comedians are completely different. I prefer Four Lions because Morris has made a film that takes the months of research he invested into the project and uses them as the basis for a broad but keen comedy about the absurdity of radicalism in all of its forms. If you'll indulge me a moment, I'd like to quote from my conversation with Bill because I think it got to the heart of what I liked about the film:
"I think Morris's point was that radicalism of any sort is absurd. He points to the counter-terrorism forces as a form of institutionalized radicalism: they counter bumbling violence with more bumbling violence. I thought given the circumstances he sets up, that he needed to dump on them, to be honest, just to show that it's not Islamic terrorists he objects to but rather the principle of politically motivated violence...he objects to terrorism, yes. But not specifically Islamic terrorists but rather radicalism. So yes, he probably would take issue with the methods of police, too. I mean, keep in mind, this film is mostly fixated on the methods, the preparation and the planning phase of the terrorist cell. It's about the absurdity of the process, not about the impact of the violence they plan. It's why Morris makes fun of the way the counter-terrorists profile people: it's a ninja turtle! No, it's a wookiee! What's a wookiee? They don't even know what they're looking at. It's not the institution of the police he takes issue with but rather how they practice their power. I think."