In 1974 a movie by the name of Blazing Saddles hit the screens. Mention that to most blokes today and they all become giggly 12 year old boys and share tales of the infamous baked beans scene. However among the regulars that kicking around the Filmguide crew we all agree it was a movie that came out at the very best time. If it came out earlier it would not have been so popular, in a world that would shun movies with African Americans.. If it came out later it would have been seen as exceptionally racist.
Now.. Fast forward to 2011.. Its over 10 years since 9/11 and only 6 years since the extensive terrorism bombings in London.. Could someone take an equally sensitive topic, in this case terrorists in the UK, and make some comedic gold out of it? That is exactly the waters that Four Lions tread.
In the heart of England a group of wannabe terrorists plans to show their strength against a decadent western world. The problem is they are clueless, hopeless and extremely misguided. The story follows their journey from a completely botched up and totally hillarious Al Qaida training camp scenario through to the ultimate and equally botched up terrorist attack on the London Marathon.
The film also answers the ultimate question, where is Osama Bin Laden..
The plot is funny, extremely satirical and you may do yourself an injury by the time the credits roll. However by that time you become all too painfully aware that your laughing at a movie that is about terrorism. And the final scene really does make you wonder about the futility of the acts.
And this very point became a lengthy discussion amongst the review team. Was it ok to laugh at terrorism. The director certainly spent alot of time drawing a line between moderate and extremist muslims. The terrorists at the end of the day were misguided and extremely stupid, however the moderates were portrayed as old fashioned and perhaps just as equally misguided.
It was a bit hard to take away any lessons from this movie, perhaps just a sense of awkwardness, and maybe it wasn’t a movie to take anything away from. Yet by the end it felt like i was being taught a lesson; i’m just confused as to what the lesson was.
I think the best commentary on this one is that it will make you laugh till it hurts, and make you think well into the following weeks…
Reviewed by: Skip Parker
Releasing on DVD: 23rd February, 2011