Parents' Guide to

Four Lions

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

British satire has terrorism, violence, strong language.

Movie R 2010 97 minutes
Four Lions Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Provocative and thoughtful

This satire! Riz Ahmed! The stereotypes! The layers! This dark British satire hits a heckuva lot of marks in its desire to start a conversation on a topic that few move into willingly. The care and the style that the film exudes and the many layers of darkness...a great achievement. Even Cumberbatch in his brief role offers another complex layer to the storytelling. The film is humorous, outrageous and offers a lot to think about and ponder. Provocative and thoughtful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

For a studio to fund a comedy about terrorists, they'd have to be certain it's going to walk one of cinema's thinnest lines and not succumb to any of the pitfalls too countless to mention. But with Four Lions, Britain's sharpest, most surreal satirist, Christopher Morris treads that line triumphantly, seamlessly delivering both a constantly laugh-out-loud comedy and a heartbreaking, chilling terrorist thriller. The cast are incredible, with leads Ahmed and Kayvan Novak both giving very different powerhouse performances. Waj (Novak) verges on ridiculous in his lack of comprehension, but his lost look is packed with pathos. Meanwhile, more intelligent family man, Omar (Ahmed) is utterly chilling, as he calmly discusses the moment he'll die in a suicide attack with his supportive wife and young son.

The twisted ideology of the jihadists is toxic, garbled garbage that plays in contrast to the Islamic characters' beliefs. But their actions are never downplayed as anything but deadly. The Western culture that helped spawn these ideas is also shown up, as is the clueless, out of touch British government and the police. The hilarious movie breezes by. But masterfully woven beneath the surface is a thick and complex web of ideas and searing commentary. It looks great, too. Morris mixes long 1970s zooms worthy of Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation with handheld shots, CCTV footage, and night vision, to create a heady ride that's static and steady, then explosive and, sadly, hyper-real. A modern classic, if only to show that no subject is off limits, if tackled the right way.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 5, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: March 8, 2011
  • Cast: Riz Ahmed , Kayvan Novak , Nigel Lindsay
  • Director: Christopher Morris
  • Inclusion Information: Indian/South Asian actors, Middle Eastern/North African actors
  • Studio: Drafthouse Films
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 97 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language throughout, including some sexual references
  • Last updated: February 4, 2024

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