four-lionsControversial satirist Chris Morris (TV’s Brass Eye) takes on his most ambitious project in this darkly comic tale of a group of inept Jihadi suicide bombers. He mines a rich seam as the group lurch between misconceived schemes for creating murderous havoc. The film provokes shock, incongruity and belly laughs, with a treatment open to misinterpretation and some potential to cause offence. With the aid of writers Sam Bain (Peep Show) and Jesse Armstrong (In the Loop), and using humour as a weapon, Morris delivers a powerful contemplation on this highly-charged issue. (Cert 15)
Dir: Chris Morris 97 mins UK 2010

Programme Notes


UK 2010 97 minutes Cert. 15

Welcome to the first screening of the 2010/2011 season by ABCD film society. We hope you will enjoy the selection of films we will be showing.

Tonight’s film, Four Lions, is perhaps a controversial choice, as it deals with the taboo subject of terrorism of the home grown variety, but director Chris Morris, with his indomitable use of blacker than black comedy, presents a singular depiction of this ‘elephant in the room’.

Waj – Kayvan Novak
Omar – Riz Ahmed
Barry – Nigel Lindsay
Ed – Benedict Cumberbatch
Sophia – Preeya Kalidas
Director – Chris Morris
Screenplay – Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Chris Morris, Simon Blackwell
Cinematography – Lol Crawley
Producers – Mark Herbert and Derrin Schlesinger

“A degree of empathy (if not affection) is central to Four Lions, in which the eponymous quartet are wannabe suicide bombers hell-bent on killing innocent civilians. If co-writer and director, Chris Morris, didn’t at least understand these bumbling lost boys (as opposed to their bloody lost cause) he’d be hard pressed to have conjured a film which treats home-grown terrorism as such horribly irreverent farce yet still manages to take its underlying subject matter deadly seriously…

“Having previously been dubbed “the most hated man in Britain” for mocking the media’s paedo-scare tactics with his fictional “Nonce Sense” campaign, Morris adopts similarly no-holds-barred tactics with the country’s contemporary sacred cow. It’s a very edgy watch indeed, uncomfortable in all the right ways, and entertaining in most of the supposedly wrong ones. The humour is often slapstick in execution … but at best it’s heartbreakingly pathetic – a scene in which a young father attempts to explain his forthcoming martyrdom to his wide-eyed son through the universal language of Disney’s Lion King is quite breathtakingly conflicted. (“He’ll be in heaven before his head hits the ceiling!” chirrups the kid.) Similarly, the comparison between paradise and a fast-track pass to the rides at Alton Towers may at first be risibly ridiculous, but as the drama progresses the phrase “rubber dinghy rapids” becomes increasingly plaintive and peculiarly moving. Was it funny? Quite probably. Did I laugh? Only occasionally. Would I recommend it? Wholeheartedly.” Mark Kermode, The Observer


“That went with a bang!”

“The funniest film I have seen for years!”

“Bloody brilliant – really good and really funny! Excellent, realistic treatment of a touchy subject. Excellent start to the season.”

“Searing! funny and distressing in equal measure. Impossible to judge (this film) – I hope it was justified.”

“Extreme black humour pushed beyond all normal limits [in this] horribly enjoyable film.”

“What a joy to laugh out loud!”

“More laugh-out-loud than the expected cringes. Chris Morris again has his finger on the dark satirist pulse, bringing humour to media scares and genuine global concerns. The poignant ending struck chords of shared frustration for disaffected youth and [other] minorities.”

“Bravely witty – usefully provocative”


“I’m not sure whether this film was bad taste Monty Python or one of the most brilliant and ironic films I’ve ever seen. What effect it will have on young British Asians is hard to predict – it could go either way.”

“I was in two minds as to whether I should see this film. It was very funny but the subject was not funny at all – as people died! I’m feeling guilty yet still found it funny – I’m confused!”

“Funny – but I expected a happy ending. I’m confused that I’m aware of the theme but, (at the same time), able to [find the] jokes funny.”

“The film was funny when I could understand the ‘innit’ dialogue but was in appalling taste!”

“This was certainly one of the more unique [sic] British comedies of recent years but with a few more explosive moments than [many of them]!”

“Brilliant dialogue but spoiled by very poor and often out of focus camerawork.”

“Surprisingly funny and totally silly”

“It worked in a weird sort of way. A strange subject but an interesting take on it.”

“Nearly an A!”

“Could have done with some more subtitles. Was the sheep barbequed? This really was a warped film!”

“Theatre hot and lacked ventilation. Sound poor, so much dialogue missed with my poor hearing.”

“That was one sheep for the chop!”


A:20, B:21, C:7, D:2, E:0 to give 80%