Script Rehearsal: Four Lions

The Power of Nightmares, part 1 – Baby It’s Cold Outside:

(Parts 2 and 3 of Adam Curtis’ documentary are also available online.)

Chris Morris, introducing Four Lions at the Bradford International Film Festival:

Honestly people who go, “My job is to set out to break taboos!” are massively boring… Nothing I’ve done, I would classify as being controversial.  That’s just people making a mistake.

(He makes some of the same jokes in this introduction to the movie, filmed elsewhere, but I enjoyed watching him go through the routine both times.)

Four Lions: Chris Morris’ Jiha-Ha-Had Movie, from Boing Boing net:

XJ: Your past television work—”Brass Eye,” for instance—you’re known as someone who takes news and current events and satirizes it or spins it in a funny way. You were digging into different kinds of source material here.

CM: The common theme is that you’re getting inside something and rattling the perception around a little bit. If you think the way the news works is innately silly or ridiculous, why not play with that? If you think the people who stand up on behalf of knee-jerk, high-intensity, high morality subjects are not talking with the greatest authority, why not play with that?

And here, if you feel that the description of the way this wheel is turning around radical Islam isn’t the whole picture, then go behind the scenes and find out what’s going on. If it emerges as comic, then it’s comedy.

Lead actor Riz Ahmed, discussing the movie with Empire Magazine:

Chris Morris, interviewed by Zach Goldbaum:

Chris Morris, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, from an interview with Time Out magazine:

This seems the perfect team, the man behind ‘Brass Eye’ and the writers of ‘Peep Show’ and ‘In the Loop’ which look at the dark, claustrophobic workings of the male mind under pressure…

Sam Bain ‘You’ve found a unifying factor!’

Jesse Armstrong
‘Well, if Sam and I can do anything, we can write men arguing in those claustrophobic environments. But could we write some guys of different ethnicity, different religion and different cultural backgrounds? And we thought: Well, they’re still basically blokes arguing.’

Chris Morris ‘The Universal Male! We’ve ousted Martin Amis! I went to the high court and watched the Bluewater terrorist trial and got to hear a lot of MI5 surveillance tapes of the suspects, and you start to realise these people are klutzing around in a very average way – like men at stag parties or five-a-side football. Everyone reporting on it knew it was like “The Keystone Cops”. There’s a recording I heard where one guy says, “Hey bro, what’s the date today?” And the other guy says it’s the twenty-third. “So is tomorrow the twenty-fourth?” You wondered if they were stoned but the police said no.

‘There’s a bit where they’re arguing about who’s cooler, Bin Laden or Johnny Depp. You hear ridiculous things like, “My wife’s really pissed off with you ’cos she made you these sandwiches and you didn’t eat them and then you ate a load of chocolate spread. Hey, wouldn’t it be brilliant if we pulled an airliner out of the sky? Yeah bro, that’d be fantastic! What’s on telly tonight? Ah that Richard Littlejohn, I don’t like him. When’s Jeremy Clarkson on, he’s brilliant?”

‘You have to unload a lot of cultural and factual stuff to create a context for these – actually really normal – reactions between blokes. The one who wants to be leader, the thick one, the bullied type…’

Comedian Richard Herring on Four Lions:

Talking of Dad’s Army I went to see “Four Lions” this evening, which I had been very much looking forward to, but was slightly disappointed by, but only really, I suppose, judged by Chris Morris’ high standards. Unlike his other more controversial works (the paedophilia Brass Eye for example) I don’t think this was funny enough or illuminating enough to make up for the seriousness of the subject. The terrorists were just a bit too stupid and yet then suddenly self-aware enough to understand the inconsistencies in their position, though I know Morris researched it thoroughly and perhaps you have to be this dim to blow yourself up. It was dark and unsettling and at least showed the futility of suicide bombing. And yes, better than the vast majority of comedy films and well worth seeing. But it either needed to be more revelatory or funnier for me. Yet funnily enough when I mentioned I was going to see it on Twitter, the reviews I got were all glowing. So maybe it is me who has the bad sense of humour and Twitter that has the good one.

I do hope that Chris Morris will make loads more films though. We need him and Iannucci doing their stuff (though I also thought that “In The Loop” wasn’t as funny as “The Thick of It”) rather than the people churning out “Lesbian Vampire Killers”.

Perhaps it was all down to my expectations. I haven’t been out for ages and I needed to see a film that blew me away on this rare night off. It certainly got me thinking. But it didn’t really make me laugh at loud. And reviewers had wrecked one of the big moments with a stupid spoiler that I won’t reveal now.

(From Herring’s daily blog, Warming Up)

Movie critic Mark Kermode, discussing the film on radio:

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1 Response to Script Rehearsal: Four Lions

  1. Pingback: Pish Talk: Four and a Half Lions | Attack Ships on Fire

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