Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Day Shall Come ★★★★☆

Chris Morris, the master satirist behind Four Lions, has always been a comedy hero of mine. His work on Brass Eye and The Day Today, in particular, is among the funniest stuff I have ever seen, and continue to rewatch regularly to this day. While the word ‘genius’ is thrown around pretty loosely these days, it’s an understatement for Chris Morris. His darkly hilarious satire on terrorism, paedophilia and drugs is something that only he can do – and he nails the landing every time. After a near-10-year-hiatus, Morris returns at the time we need him most with this disturbing story of FBI sting operations.

The Day Shall Come follows an impoverished preacher named Moses Al Shabazz (Marchánt Davis) who brings hope to the Miami projects through the teachings he believes were told to him by God through a duck. When he is offered cash to save his family from eviction, he has no idea his sponsor works for the FBI, and the FBI plans on turning him into a criminal by fuelling his revolutionary dreams. Ostensibly based on 100 true stories, The Day Shall Come is a study of the US homeland security’s methods of ‘creating’ and arresting terrorists. While it may sound far-fetched and ridiculous, a quick Google search will confirm your worst fears – these absurd stories are true.

In true Chris Morris style, the story is told with dark humour varying from the biting to the bizarre – Shabazz believes the dinosaurs were in fact killed out by the CIA, but a few were kept back and can be called upon for protection in times of need by a bull-horn. And yes, this comes from a true story too. Truth truly is stranger than fiction. But while the story is funny – often laugh-out-loud hilarious, even – it is also incredibly disturbing and surprisingly upsetting. Much like Four Lions, as the story progresses the jokes begin to cease. The final act, although amusing in places, becomes more of a drama (with elements of tragedy).

The film is split between two sets of characters: Moses and his band of delusional followers, and the FBI sting team headed by the hilariously dry Denis O'Hare and Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick. With these two sets of characters comes two contrasting types of humour. The FBI offices are packed with sharp, biting satire – O’Hare’s Andy Mudd states that if the war on terror isn’t won before we know it, we will have beheaded Bruce Springsteen as the Statue of Liberty wears a burka. These scenes feel like something plucked out of The Thick of It/Veep, while the scenes with Moses and his mission become increasingly bizarre as Moses neglects to take his medication to thwart his mental illness. As the film reaches a climax, these two styles merge together in the aforementioned upsetting final act.

Chris Morris has crafted another satirical masterpiece with The Day Shall Come and has been absolutely worth the wait since his previous film, 2010’s Four Lions. Packed with hilarious dialogue and incredible performances, this thought-provoking and downright disturbing tale will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. I just hope Morris tackles the farcical Brexit next…

Sam Love

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