A new comedy from Brass Eye creator Chris Morris about four hopelessly incompetent Islamic terrorists in Sheffield has outraged KU students, with almost 70%, saying they felt it was “too soon” to laugh about something that is still so prominent in today’s society.
Third-year film student, Yaz Amin, said: “It is a controversial issue as the media still portrays the link between these minority groups and such horrible acts. I think the film, although plays on bringing humour, is not helping in opening minds as it basically also mocks minority groups. There is a certain limit of how far this subject can be taken without causing any offence which I believe [this film] may actually do.”
Four Lions is loosely based on the Leeds jihadist cell that killed 52 London commuters on July 7 2005 though it tackles most people’s view that suicide bombers are hard-line extremists and instead portrays them as bumbling amateurs who stumble into terrorism.
However, not everyone thinks that it is too soon for a film such as Four Lions. Second-year English literature and creative writing student, Jade Marie Harvey, said: “I have to say I’m a huge fan of Chris Morris. Taboos such as terrorism and paedophilia are extremely serious but I think it’s important for us to be able to laugh about such matters. Terrorists feeds on fear and if we take away the fear, they lose the power…and Chris Morris is a genius.”
Best known for his cult TV show, Brass Eye, this is not the first time that Morris’s work has been met with controversy.
In 2001, he was heavily criticised over a ‘Paedophile Special’ episode, which received over 1000 complaints to the UK’s Independent Television Commission and resulted in Morris being condemned by former Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, and then-Home Secretary, David Blunkett.
In a bid to keep the film from offending viewers Morris has apparently carried out extensive research to ensure that the film is acceptable to the Muslim community.
Producer, Mark Herbet, of Warp Films, said that: “Chris’s research has been meticulous. It is fatwa-proof.”
This is not the first time that a film has been made about the sensitive issue of terrorism since the September 11 attacks, although it is the first comedy film to be made.
Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 was one of the first films to be made revolving around the war on terror and generated significant controversy and criticism after being released shortly before the U.S presidential election in 2004.
The World Trade Center, starring Nicholas Cage, released in 2006, received mainly positive reviews and won several awards, however it focused on the lives of Americans that were destroyed by the attacks, not on the terrorists.
Four Lions will hit cinemas screen on May 7 and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for world cinema at the Sundance Film Festival.