One of those films that took me by complete surprise, `Four Lions' is a pitch perfect `dark comedy' that delivers one laugh after another with an unexpected touch of poignancy that elevates the material to create something special.
`Four Lions' details the haphazard terrorist plot conceived by five dimwitted Jihadi suicide bombers. Mainly focusing on three conflicting personalities (Omar, Waj and Barry), `Four Lions' takes a stab at the root (or roots) of terrorism; exposing the allegiance and trivial stupidity that steeps itself in the act. Omar and Barry butt heads from the start. Both are leaders (self-proclaimed as they may be) and both expect a degree of servitude. Omar is arrogant, considering himself superior in intellect (and most likely he is), while Barry is abrasive and condescending in his own right; using his brutish demeanor to demand a faux respect. Waj is more of a simpleton; completely confused by his own allegiance. He wants to believe in something but he can't commit his heart to their actions. Instead, he becomes a pawn; taken advantage of by the more dominant personalities. By focusing on these three characters, `Four Lions' shows the polar sides of terrorism; the way that influence can overtake both and strong and the weak. As these characters devise their plot against oppression, they struggle to explain themselves and thus struggle to convince themselves that what they are doing is really the right thing to do.
As an intellectual piece, `Four Lions' is far smarter and deeper than one may expect. It is a blatant farce, an unapologetic comedy and yet it is laced with such stark realism. That said, it is the comedic shamelessness that really makes this film so incredible. The script is one of the best I've seen put to use on the big screen in a long while. The sharpness of the dialog is perfectly complimented by the visual antics. The explosions never lack in comedic weight, and the one-liners delivered are side-splittingly hysterical.
"I'm not confused brother! I just took picture of my face, and it's deffo not my confused face."
The repartee between the actors is also borderline genius. Everyone totally gets their respective roles and they go `no holds bar', attacking the characters without hesitation. Best in show props go directly to Nigel Lindsay, who layers Barry's ignorance with such undeniable wit. He's pitch perfect in every scene.
In the end, I can't recommend this movie enough. It is controversial, sure, but it understands how to approach the subject so as not to `cross the line' while simultaneously `crossing it'. Taking jabs at both sides of the `war on terrorism', `Four Lions' feels real and authentic despite the outlandish nature of the whole thing. It's preposterous, but on the other hand it's so crazy it just might be true!