Posted by: Paul | May 1, 2010

Four Lions

Looking forward to this, Chris Morris’ first feature film, released this coming Friday. And with the new scheme of delivering little man to the grandparents on Tuesday evenings once or twice a month, we might actually get to go and see it at the cinema.

Morris is obviously best known for his work which pushes the boundaries of taste and acceptability (at least according to the Daily Mail), and he’s likely to spark more controversy in the vein of ‘Ban This Sick Filth!’ with this, a comedy about a group of British jihadis who hatch a hare-brained plan to blow up the London Marathon.

I’ve been a big fan of Chris Morris’ stuff throughout his career. Aside from all the tabloid and ‘celebrity’ baiting material, I once heard Dom Joly describe him as a brilliant absurdist, and I couldn’t agree more. The material I’ve found the funniest has been in this vein – the exchanges between the characters in The Day Today, the bizarre and challenging nature of much of Blue Jam (with the Doctor sketches being a particular favourite).

The only thing I didn’t really care for was Nathan Barley, though it had its moments. It’s strange though because being a big fan of both Morris and Charlie Brooker it’s a great recipe, but somehow it just didn’t work in practice. Its humour was too crude, too sexual, too innuendo based for me and I never found a hook in any of the characters to identify with – they were all eminently dislikeable. I watched it all but didn’t buy the DVD, put it that way. Apparently the original pilot on the disc is much funnier – so why didn’t they air it?

But Four Lions has been reviewed very favourably in previews, if that’s anything to go by. A review might prompt me to see something I otherwise wouldn’t, but will never push me in the opposite direction and dissuade me from something I had been looking forward to. Fingers crossed with this, and in an odd parallel with Showtime’s Dexter (of which I have just bought the third series), by the accounts I’ve read it manages to get you to empathise with people committing despicable acts, questioning your own morality in the process. No mean feat.

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