In the words of the reviewer for IndieWire, the film revolves around a “cool-headed young leader in possession of the intellectual drive to get the job done, and a brutish pundit whose incompetence continually dooms the group’s plans. ‘I’m the most Al-Qaida of all,’ he insists.” Of course, this is a well-established comedy mechanism. Think Jeeves and Wooster or Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
On the other hand, there is an underlying truth to this construct with regard to the jihadist world. I’ve long been enamored of the idea of the distinction and tension between instrumental and expressive warriors in the jihadist world and I think it can be seen almost anywhere you look in among the terrorists. It’s an idea that I owe originally to Jeff Cozzens. West Point’s CTC also used the idea in their “Harmony and Disharmony” paper.
A couple of closing thoughts. First, assuming a distributor picks up this film and it gets some traction, I wonder what the reaction on the forums will be. Second, I wonder if there is any chance that this film could make terrorists “uncool” in their own young male target demographic, at least in the UK, where the movie is set. Or am I being too optimistic?