A critic friend told me this morning that he had the same reaction to Chris Morris‘s Four Lions (Alamo Drafthouse, 11.5) that I did — astonishing concept (a suicide terrorist comedy), quite funny at times, but he couldn’t understand a fair portion of the dialogue due to the British working-class accents. They might as well be speaking Farsi.
“It was funny, or at least the parts I could understand,” he wrote. “Apparently they’re not putting subtitles on it, which is unfortunate because those accents were so thick and the sound so muddy as to be virtually indecipherable at times.”
My 1.24.10 Sundance review: “Early last evening I saw Chris Morris‘s Four Lions — an unsettling, at times off-putting, at other times genuinely amazing black political comedy about London-based Jihadists — Islamic radicalism meets the Four Stooges/Keystone Cops. It’s sometimes shocking and sometimes heh-heh funny, and occasionally hilarious.
“Morris uses a verbal helter-skelter quality reminiscent of In The Loop, and yet the subject is appalling — a team of doofuses who dream of bombing and slaughtering in order to enter heaven and taste the fruit of virgins. It’s amazing and kind of pleasing that a comedy of this sort has been made, but I don’t want to think about the reactions in Manhattan once it opens.
“At times it felt flat and frustrating (I couldn’t understand half of it due to the scruffy British accents) and at other times I felt I was watching something akin to Dr. Strangelove — ghastly subject matter leavened with wicked humor.
“An agent I spoke to after the screening said, ‘I don’t know if the American public is ready for this film.’ He’s probably right, but Four Lions is an absolute original — I’ve never seen anything like it, nor have I have ever felt so torn in my reactions. I’d love to see it again, but with subtitles.”