Friday, May 21, 2010

The Boys' Done Good

Busy busy dog day. We’re at what is effectively a low key show but both of the boys get five runs and I’ve been roped in to ring manage for the morning. So it’s hectic and it’s hot.

First run of the day and MD goes CLEAR. Shouldn’t have been because I should have stopped him and put him back on his ‘dog walk’ as he didn’t wait to be told to be released but I couldn’t resist bagging his first clear. When he does the same thing on a later course, I do stop him, pick him up and put him back on, which gets us eliminated when it could have been clear number two but we need to get these things right.

Then on a jumping course later, which is just jumps and tunnels, none of this troublesome ‘contact’ equipment, he goes clear again and I’m a little disappointed with only 17th. He gets 12th with his other clear and gets a rosette for that, his first one.

So MD has a good day but Doggo has an even better one. Two thirds, a fourth and a fifth. It’s only a small event but you have to be pleased with such results, like me winning the 10k the other week, you can only beat the opposition put in front of you.

We head home to L, to check up on her core stability, which she’s been brushing up on in a Pilates class and for food before we head to the cinema later.

The film ‘Four Lions’ is about suicide bombers, which is hardly the most jolly of subject matters unless of course the terrorists are totally inept in achieving their aims and the whole thing descends into farce.

This film will be different things to different people. You could view this as an incredibly funny film and roll around the cinema in torrents of laughter, and a few people did, but anyone seeing this as a comedy is missing the point really. I don’t think that's what’s it’s about at all.

Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to laugh out loud such as when this little group of ‘terrorists’ are forced to transport their bomb making equipment by hand when their car breaks down, probably due to its dodgy ‘Jewish spark plugs’, but tellingly the majority of the cinema audience choose not to.

The humour gradually gets darker and you get a warning when a ‘suicide crow’ becomes a martyr for the cause but it still comes as a bit of shock when a member of the group trips over a sheep and blows himself up. Yes that’s funny, well kind of, but at that point you realise what it is that you would be laughing at and probably don’t. Although perhaps the odd guilty smile is allowed.

In this film Chris Morris has taken an interesting approach and has actually refused to have a go at terrorists through their race or religion and has instead shown us the type of people who could quite easily be lured into terrorism, whatever their race or religion. That they are predominately Asian doesn’t really matter and in fact one of them, Barry, is a white Englishman who has converted to Islam but possibly only because he quite fancies playing at being a terrorist. He turns out to be much more of zealot than the others.

The rest of the terrorist cell are hardly feared assassins. There’s the weak minded one, who would be easily lead by anyone; the stupid one, who hasn’t a clue what he is doing but is looking forward to the afterlife which he imagines is like a ride at Alton Towers and the brave one, who is actually all talk and bravado but clearly out of this depth.

Then there’s their leader, Omar, who we see at home with his loving wife and young son, both of whom support him in his aims. There are some quite bizarre scenes of the family unit. Like where he reads his son a bedtime story about 'Simba's Jihad' and where his wife talks him back in to martyrdom after he threatens to walk away from it all. She tells him he how ‘much more fun he was when he was trying to blow himself up’. That is if he can get the rest of the group to talk to him again, they’re all ignoring him on their chosen form of communication which is through their avatars on the Puffin Party website.

The film takes us through their many blunders as they prepare for and decide on a mission. They build bombs and even go to a training camp in Pakistan, from which they are sent home in disgrace.

It becomes clear early on that their mission is doomed to fail and this, in a way, makes you feel pity for them and concern, as to how much damage they are going to do to themselves and to other people in the act of failing. Despite the horror of what is probably going to happen, the film makers have blurred the edges between good and evil. They have encouraged you to form an emotional attachment with these guys because they are actually not monsters but just naive, misguided, and perhaps even likable people.

Their plan is to attack the London Marathon for which they will all don fancy dress costumes and of course there is a sad inevitability about it all. Where oddly, despite their supposed opposition to the ‘Church of McDonald's’ and western consumerism in general, it all in the end comes down to those very western inventions, mobile phones.

I thought it was an excellent film, entertaining, well written, thought provoking, very well performed and yes, funny. Well worth a couple of beers in Scruffy’s for a debrief.

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