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Four Lions: The Sequel

Tuesday 20 July 2010, by Judy Harris

Chris Morris’s next project is at once brutal and hilarious- a comedically honest, unflinching encounter with imperialist rhetoric.

Set in the outskirts of Jalalabad it follows four lovable but extraordinarily stupid and undereducated white British army soldiers (and one privately educated officer) as they storm about town misquoting Plato’s Republic and obnoxiously espousing the virtues of democracy. Whether accidental or intentional, the killing of hundreds of civilians is either an enduring pain in the ass or an extreme sport. Despite their wanton violence Morris allows us to warm to the characters as they naively attempt to teach a group of local children to rap the lyrics of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’.

Unable to speak either Pashto or Dari the men find themselves in some sticky situations while making their way to the site of a (wrongly) rumoured visit by Cheryl Cole. In a tight spot after storming a children’s hospice which they suspected was a site of female genital mutilation (they shout "protect the pussy!" as they break through the doors and subsequently have all kinds of discussions about pleasing ’their women’), the blokes from Blighty manage to save themselves by frantically shooting at people every which way, their rifles engraved with Biblical quotations.

Morris enjoys provoking sizable laughs at the violence, racism and greed implicit in their mission.Though he is unafraid to humanise his protagonists despite their blatant racism and stupidity, he remains critical throughout. Officer Lyttleton (a crudely but hilariously portrayed Oxbridge toff) is the only main character to survive, the rest of his ludicrously dim and poorly educated comrades (with barely an NVQ between them) are slaughtered only weeks before they were due to return home. The film ends a year later, in Lyttelton’s office at Exxon Mobil. Underneath the desk Officer Lyttleton is fucking his brother-in-law. Above him, next to a photo of his wife and kids, stands a picture of the five men laughing together on the banks of the Kabul river.

Verdict: a comedy of terrors

Dir: Chris Morris, 2010

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