Chris Morris is part of a particular generation of British comedy guys to come out of TV, and taken as part of a movement, I find it very exciting. "Four Lions" is an enormously cheeky feature film debut for Morris, but there's also a "get out of jail free" card that he's dealt himself here that is the one clear way he seems to be playing it safe.
First, let me be clear: "Four Lions" is the most interesting thing I've seen at the entire festival so far. "Cyrus" may be more successful overall as a film, but "Four Lions" is more exciting, more electric. I find it hard to believe that this film really exists. I half-suspected that what I'd heard about it before seeing it would turn out to be an elaborate prank on the part of the filmmakers. Nope. Chris Morris has indeed made a broad heartwarming comedy about five bumbling jihadists living in London, suicide bombers just waiting on their call to service.
And it is painfully funny.
I think a movie like this is absolutely essential right now. It is vital to defang and demystify the notion of the terrorist. When we have people trying to blow up planes, it's scary. When they're trying to blow up planes with their underpants, it starts to get funny, and then we don't know how to process that. The added level of absurdity is what Morris seems to be exploring, the idea of a world where terrorrists have blooper reels, and by daring to aim just as high as he is low with his jokes, Morris pulls off the near-impossible.