A dark comedy about Muslim suicide bombers was always going to be a contentious endeavour, but in the qualified hands of satirist Chris Morris it proves bewilderingly effective.
Following family-man Omar (Riz Ahmed) and his friends on their quest as Mujahideen, Four Lions refuses any apology for its controversial content nor nervously tiptoes around possible offence. The group, including a hapless simpleton, an aspiring rapper (‘We is the martyrs, you’s just squashed tomata’s’) and an ‘indigenous’ Brit who seems to have replaced hooliganism with Jihad, are simultaneously comical and shocking.
The likeability of the characters inspires a mix of emotions, leaving their story open to interpretation, from sympathy for their confused disillusionment to an unnerving visceral dread at the very real horror they plan. However to say the story lacks a message would be a misrepresentation, the compassionate themes inherent are deftly handled and provocative in the most contrarily positive way.