Last night I finally watched Four Lions, Chris Morris' comedy about bungling and inept suicide bombers.
Morris made his name in edgy satire and has always been keen to "push the envelope". After establishing himself in the Radio 4 comedy "On The Hour" and the TV version "The Day Today", he created "Brass Eye" for Channel 4. This satirised the media's - and more generally, society's - approach to major issues such as drugs, science and crime. In the process it fooled celebrities and politicians into unwise public pronouncements creating controversy and howls of protest from those involved.
The zenith of the show was reached with a special in 2001 when, at the third time of asking, an episode tackling paedophilia was aired. Satirising the hysteria the media is capable of whipping up, it whipped up a storm of hysteria of it's own; rather proving the point it was making.
To my mind, Four Lions was less controversial - and less satirical. Although the subject matter isn't to everyone's cup of tea and is, of course, extremely sensitive the film is more of a situation comedy. A group of Muslims become radicalised and set about Jihad but entirely lack the resources, wherewithal and intelligence with which to mount an effective attack. After a disastrous trip to a training camp in Pakistan and the accidental martyrdom of one of the cell, the remaining four decide to target the London Marathon. In fancy dress.
There are, still, some great satirical flourishes, one of my favourites being a police marksman turning to a colleague and saying "He must have been the target, I shot him" but this is more of an old school comedy and much less controversial than it at first sounds. If you've not seen it, I'd thoroughly recommend it. Here's a clip:
Read more about the film on Wikipedia and watch Mark Kermode's review here. Kermone's review also brings out the human element of the film.