The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julia Davis
Directed by: Chris Morris
Written by: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 8, 2011
"Terrorism may be about ideology but it is also about idiots"
A whip-smart, slapstick comedy, Chris Morris' Four Lions takes aim at Jihadi suicide bombers and illuminates the war on terror through satire and farce. Follow five inept aspiring terrorists on their quest to strike a blow, and how they demonstrate that terrorism may be about ideology, but it can also be about idiots.
I generally re-synopsize the film as part of my take before going into my impressions however I have opted to include the long synopsis found on the film's website as it is nearly exactly what I would have said. Here it is:
Chris Morris' Four Lions is a whip-smart, laugh-out-loud comedy that illuminates the war on terror through satire and farce. Four Lions proves that while terrorism may be about ideology, it's also about idiots. In a British city, four men have a secret plan. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is disillusioned about the treatment of Muslims around the world and is determined to become a soldier. This is the most exciting idea Waj (Kayvan Novak) has ever heard. Better still it's a no brainer because Omar does his thinking for him. Opposed to Omar and everyone else on earth is the white Islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay). He'd realize he joined the cell to channel his nihilism - if he had half the self knowledge of a duck. Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) is the odd man out. He can make a bomb - but he can't blow himself up just now coz his sick dad has started eating newspaper. Instead he's training crows to fly bombs through windows. This is what Omar has to deal with. They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face?
This is a refreshingly funny satire that puts an absurd spin on the extremist mind behind terrorism as four nincompoops decide to start a home grown Jihad cell in England. The nonsensical banter that can result from any group dynamic associated with personalities during planning situations can be entertaining enough but the farcical interplay and inept bungling amidst this group had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. While the insanity of the ideology behind terrorism as well as the acts themselves are nothing to joke about I think that director/co-writer Chris Morris uses satire to demonstrate not only the failure on all sides but also to make a definitive statement about the senselessness of the extremist mindset. Certainly meant to be kept in the proper context this is just well played humor that takes a potshot at terrorism and its would be supporters. Executed with exacting purpose, great writing, and a strong cast this is one of those films that struck all the right chords.
The rating is for language throughout, including some sexual references.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Four Lions comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.
This is a satisfying high definition video presentation that delivers quality which is on par with a newer release film coming to Blu-ray Disc. Colors appear natural with pleasing depth and an intentionally subdued palette. Complexions are realistically depicted with defining texture, and good tonal separation. Blacks are respectable but don't offer the depth and delineation that make them stand out. Detail in low light and dark backgrounds is estimable. Grain is noticeably present especially during dark/low level scenes which can be a bit distracting but overall I didn't find it bothersome. Images offer good dimensional depth, stable sharpness, and respectable clarity but don't expect opulent high level detail and overly vibrant colors. This appears to look exactly as intended which when all is said and done is quite good. The lossless audio presentation is solid and renders the elements present in the soundtrack with aplomb. Dialogue is clearly articulated through the center channel and appropriately holds sway over the wide front soundstage. Dynamics and low frequency detail are notable as the sounds of explosions and gunfire are reproduced with authority and crystal clarity. Aural perspective predominantly leans toward the front channels however when applied, there are discretely placed sounds and diffuse ambience fed to the rear channels which provide an effective sense of envelopment.
- Bradford interview - 4 minutes
- Behind the scenes - Looks at five sequences from the film (totaling 13 minutes)
- Background material - Lost boys & Interview with Mo Ali (totaling 21 minutes)
- 7 deleted scenes
- (HD) Storyboards
Four lions is a refreshingly funny satire that takes a potshot at the extremist ideology behind terrorism as seen through the actions of a group of inept British Muslims who decide to assemble a home grown Jihad cell in England. I went into this film with no idea what to expect and it just cracked me up. It debuts on Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment featuring pleasing high definition video quality and well matched lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound. The bonus supplements aren't extensive but are well worth checking out. If you enjoy funny bone tickling satire Four Lions is highly recommended viewing. Enjoy!
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Well, at least there are subtitles: I couldn't penetrate this film (on Netflix) for the accents, never mind the British and Pakistani cultural references! Would have bought the Blu-ray Disc (and a BD player for it, as I don't have one!), but now I think I'll just wait for a Special Edition (inshallah, lol!)....
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