Could there be a more hot-button topic than terrorism these days? Although it is historically the subject of serious documentaries and intense dramatic films, renowned British comedian Chris Morris finds the humor (and ultimately the humanity) in this extremist world.
Four Lions tells the story of a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point. As the wheels fly off, and their competing ideologies clash, what emerges is an emotionally engaging (and entirely plausible) farce. In a storm of razor-sharp verbal jousting and large-scale set pieces, Four Lions is a comic tour de force; it shows that—while terrorism is about ideology—it can also be about idiots.
Based on three years of research and meetings with everyone from imams to ex-mujahedeen—not to mention a wealth of surveillance material from major trials, Four Lions plunges beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien or evil. Instead, it portrays them as human beings, who, as we all know, are innately ridiculous. —Sundance Film Festival
For someone with such a small body of work for the screen, the influence of Chris Morris is remarkable. Regularly lauded as the most thoughtful and challenging comedian working in Britain today, his work is characterised by the long gestation periods and obsessive secrecy undertaken for each major project. This ratio of high input for low output points to a meticulous attention to detail, not to mention an uncompromising, moralistic drive.
Morris was born in Cambridgeshire, and his progression through the education system was peppered with musical rather than comic activity. His earliest work for radio was typical local fare, yet a sense of mischief and recognisable comic persona gradually crept in, taking full flight at BBC Radio Bristol and Greater London Radio. Here he was picked up by comedy producer Armando Iannucci, who invited him to share in the creation of landmark news parody On the Hour (BBC Radio 4, 1991-92). The cast and crew resisted labels but were nevertheless… read more
"No sort of motion picture is more stylized, utopian, or fun to theorize than the musical," writes the Voice's J Hoberman. "As an exercise