The fearless satirical voice of Chris Morris (‘The Day Today’, ‘Brass Eye’) has been sorely missed in the British comedy landscape. Unafraid to find absurd humour in anything from moral panic over paedophilia to the logistical problems of incompetent British jihadists in ‘Four Lions’, he’s been noticeably absent from our cinema screens for nine long years. Sadly, his latest, ‘The Day Shall Come’, is only a middling entry in the Morris-verse, a terrorism satire that misses as many targets as it hits.
Marchánt Davis stars as Moses, the endearingly deluded head of a black separatist group in Florida. Although his group has only four members (and some hens) it draws the attention of an FBI surveillance operation spearheaded by Kendra (Anna Kendrick). Undercover stings are set up, plans backfire and corruption reigns. All the while jokes fly thick and fast, with everything and everyone a target.
Morris’s genius lies in one-liners that run from light mockery and ‘Twilight Zone’ strangeness to furious cynicism, and he’s assisted again on screenwriting duties by ‘Four Lions’ co-writer Jesse Armstrong (‘Succession’). There is pleasure to be had from the absurdist story beats, but the self-conscious dialogue feels at odds with the supposedly real-world characters. Where ‘Four Lions’ is meticulously thought-through, this is a more scattergun sketch of politically motivated inhumanity. It’s much more successful at landing punchlines than punches.