Islamic jihadists plot to blow themselves up in the middle of the London marathon, but they're such bunglers that the only real question is whether they'll manage to take any infidels with them. Because of the subject matter, this 2010 British comedy by TV writer-director Chris Morris has been reflexively labeled as controversial, and more outlaw cred has rubbed off on the project from its U.S. distributor, Alamo Drafthouse, the beloved movie venue in Austin, Texas. But Four Lions turns out to be less edgy than you might expect: the terrorists are the butt of every joke, and Morris skitters away from both Islamic fundamentalism and Western imperialism as objects of satire. The comedy divides cleanly into dark, violent slapstick (much of it hilarious) and more routine gags highlighting the fanatical characters' foolishness and incompetence. In English and subtitled Arabic.
By J.R. Jones