Relatives of London bombing victims criticise satirical film

By Cahal Milmo

Relatives of those who died in the July 2005 London bombings say the satirical film Four Lions is based too closely on events that still remain raw. Photo / Wikimedia Commons image by Francis Tyers
Relatives of those who died in the July 2005 London bombings say the satirical film Four Lions is based too closely on events that still remain raw. Photo / Wikimedia Commons image by Francis Tyers

The relatives of victims of the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London have called for a boycott of Four Lions, the British feature film being released this week which seeks to satirise four aspiring suicide bombers.

The comedy, which satirist Chris Morris began researching prior to the 2005 attacks, tells the story of four young Muslim fundamentalists, including a white convert, who travel from Yorkshire to London for a bungled assault on the marathon.

The film goes on nationwide release today after receiving broadly positive reviews, but families of the 52 people killed on board Tube trains and a London bus by four British Muslims said the production was based too closely on events that still remain raw.

Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son David was on the Circle Line train bombed at Edgware Road, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The film is about four lads from the north, all with strong Yorkshire accents - and the bombers were from Yorkshire - travelling down to London.

It's very specific. It's very aligned to what happened in 2005 and they talk about bombing in London. That's not parodying or being satire about terrorists. It's making money about a specific attack."

Mr Foulkes said he and other families, many of whom attended a High Court hearing last week to decide the format of the inquests into the victims of the 7/7 attacks, were calling on cinemas to boycott the film.

The think-tank Demos said the film could be a "critical weapon in the fight against terrorism" because it ridiculed the aims of the men involved.

But Grahame Russell, whose 28-year-old son Philip died on board the bus blown up in Tavistock Square, said: "I didn't see the humour in four people buying ingredients to make a bomb to come to London and kill innocent members of the public on the underground."

Morris has said Four Lions is an attempt to examine the issues behind the "War on Terror" by lampooning the "Dad's Army side to terrorism".

Warp Films, the movie's producers, said it in no way condoned the events of July 2005.

"The film does not mock or trivialise the suffering caused by bombings," it said.

"We sympathise with those affected by the events of 7 July and did not seek to cause them any offence."

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