Services like Netflix and YouTube have made the most recent films readily available to anyone. Can we find anything of value in the muck of b-movies, ambitious failures and exploitative crap-fests? We’re going to find out in Dispatches from Instant View Purgatory.
What’re we watching: “Four Lions,” a dramedy about several British Muslims, determined to give their lives meaning by becoming suicide bombers.
What does it look like: This is three parts “28 Weeks Later,” mixed with one part “The Kingdom” and a sprinkle of “Blazing Saddles.”
What’s going on: Four 30-something British Muslims decide to become holy warriors and bomb a mosque, eliciting a race war. Somehow, hilarity ensues.
Why haven’t we heard of this: Seriously, are you really wondering why you didn’t hear about this as a person who lives in the United States?
What works: This is one of the darkest, funniest comedies since “Dr. Strangelove.”
What doesn’t: There’s a danger in going this dark. Sometimes, it can be hard to laugh at something that is this brutal and this grim, especially when characters you’ve grown to love start exploding.
Skip to: About halfway through, there’s a great argument between the conspirators about what exactly is necessary to constitute martyrdom. The last 20 minutes of the film are also some of the funniest, tensest and bleakest moments of cinema ever recorded.
The Verdict: “Four Lions” gives viewers a look at the perspective of the men and women who strap bombs onto their chest and it does so without preaching or belittling the choices of those who choose to give their lives for Islam. Somehow, it manages to also be hysterical.
What’s coming up next: What happens when a bunch of washed up actors play a bunch of washed up characters? I’m going to try to answer that question by watching “I Melt With You.”