Sunday, May 02, 2010
Chris Morris's Four Lions
There can be weeks when I find very little to engage on BBC2's The Review Show (formerly Newsnight Review, though the name change seems to have accompanied nothing more than the sickly new colour scheme of its redesigned set), so it was a pleasant surprise to see Chris Morris, Britain's foremost satirist and creator of series The Day Today (1994) and Brass Eye (1997), featured on the show this week, having finished his latest project, a darkly comic film about a bunch of hapless, amateur terrorists based in Sheffield.
I'd almost forgotten about the movie, having last read about Morris's current project when I stumbled across a letter, "The absurd world of Martin Amis", in the Guardian a few years back, in which Morris takes the bestselling author to task for "prowling the thickets of his research [into Islam and terrorism] like a demented flasher".
But as Morris's first film, and given his reputation for dealing with difficult topics (such as drugs, war, paedophilia, and AIDS) with biting satire, sharp observations and prickly wit, Four Lions promises to be impressive. In the meantime, I'm returning to DVDs and online clips from Morris's previous work, particularly the excellent The Day Today. For those who haven't seen it, here from the fifth episode of that series is Morris's rebarbative newsreader character at full tilt, deliberately sparking off a war after an unlikely peace accord in order to capitalise on the ensuing pandemonium with up-to-the-minute news coverage, invasive, sensationalist footage, and even (later in the episode) marketing a CD titled 'Our War', including pop songs inappropriately set to war footage.