Four Lions

My route to work on July 7, 2005 would have taken me through Kings Cross and Aldgate East tube stations, but thanks to a 10am start, by the time I arrived in London the bombs had already gone off. So I walked to work. A decade earlier, an IRA bomb threat had stopped me getting to work altogether. London workers have, in short, endured a generation of terrorist threats with wry resignation, which is why UK was always more likely than the US to produce the first suicide-bomber black comedy.

This, in fact, walks the tightrope of tragic farce; all except one of the would-be jihadists are either idiots or downright mentally impaired. The exception is Omar, who has a loving wife and son, and whose motivation is mainly to one-up his sanctimonious brother. But Omar’s family is not especially devout, so his wife’s support for his martyrdom is hard to fathom.

Almost every group – from fundamentalists to security forces – comes out of this looking stupid, and there are laugh-out-loud sections, but it wobbles into serious commentary too. 8/10

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