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Entertainment behind the scenes

Families urge boycott of suicide bomber comedy

May 6, 2010

jihadFamilies of some of the 52 victims of the July, 2005 suicide attacks in London have called for a boycott of a controversial new comedy “Four Lions”, which follows a group of hapless would-be jihadis who target the London marathon. The BBC has quoted two relatives – Grahame Russell and Graham Foulkes — as criticising the movie and calling for cinemas not to show it when it is released on Friday. For Foulkes, although humour has its place in exploring serious issues, the events of five years ago are “still too raw”.

Watching the film is certainly an uncomfortable experience. It is full of funny one-liners and farcical gags, including an ill-fated trip to a training camp in Pakistan which ends in ignominy and a failed attempt to use crows to fly bombs through windows. You find yourself laughing and then wonder whether it’s appropriate, and presumably that is one of the objectives of film maker and satirist Chris Morris.

Most of the pre-release focus has been on whether the Muslim community will find the movie offensive, but it is the relatives who have been more vocal in their criticism, at least up until now. Morris has defended the project, saying his director’s statement: “Terrorist cells have the same group dynamics as stag parties and five-a-side football teams. There is conflict, friendship, misunderstanding and rivalry. Terrorism is about ideology, but it is also about berks.”

Box office figures out next week will show whether the British public has the appetite for such a provocative movie.

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