Four Lions (2010)

by George Watches Things


Yes, this is a movie about wanna-be jihad terrorists. But don’t worry, it’s more similar to The Great Dictator than to the amateur Osama bin Laden videos.

Similarities between Four Lions and The Great Dictator:

  • They are both acute political satires.
  • They both criticize ways of life that involve mass genocide.
  • They are both hilarious.
  • They both show scenes of the home life of our main protagonist, and they are both touching.

Differences between Four Lions and The Great Dictator:

  • Lions doesn’t end with a plea for sanity.
  • Lions keeps the pace moving through the very end.
  • Lions is much darker than Dictator.

Four Lions is about five British wanna-be terrorists. Two go to Pakistan for training, only to accidentally blow-up Osama bin Laden. When they come back, they decide to plan their own attack. The plot from there is eerily similar to the child’s poem “Ten Little Indians”.

Terrorists are real people. Some of them are like you and me. They have wives and children. Some of them don’t get along with their families. No one presented to us in the picture is evil. This is key. The film could have gone off the rails at any point, especially considering the subject matter. But it didn’t.

Sure, these guys, besides Omar, are all complete idiots. Yes, one of them dies by tripping over a sheep. But the film doesn’t judge them for that (only the idea of terrorism in general). In fact, it offers two of them redemption. Unfortunately, it’s just too late.

(Four Lions is available now on Netflix Instant.)