\u2022 This review contains spoilers The Day Shall Come by Chris Morris, the creator of satirical documentary series Brass Eye, is a rip-roaring spoof inspired by the morally indefensible and socially destructive practices of the FBI in the wake of 9\/11. Drawing on real events, the film proclaims itself as \u201cbased on 100 true stories\u201d \u2013 but it is neither documentary nor mockumentary. Through the comic lens of a fictitious plot, the film aims to bring wider public attention to the FBI\u2019s reported practice of grooming, then aiding and abetting potential \u201cterrorists\u201d. In Morris\u2019s fictitious scenario, the agency supplies money, weapons, and even (fake) nuclear armaments to individuals targeted as suspects with seemingly no rhyme or reason. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v_HQ7iIbEszM The film is set in Miami, Florida \u2013 and the principal target of the FBI bureau\u2019s scurrilous plot is one Moses Al Shabaz (played by March\u00e1nt Davis), a charismatic, energetic and earnest would-be prophet and leader of the laughably tiny \u201cStar of Six\u201d ministry. With only six members (including Moses\u2019s wife Venus and their child), the group aims to overthrow the \u201caccidental dominance of the white race\u201d using only peaceful methods. Moses\u2019s worst crime appears to be eccentricity. When offered \u201csupplies\u201d by an FBI undercover agent, he requests a horse, a chicken coop and wire fencing for his farm. When the agent insists he ask for weapons, we learn that Moses intends to use the 50 AK47s supplied by the FBI as fence posting \u2013 by painting them white. His is the sort of benign folly that occasionally disturbs, but mostly amuses and endears. Poignancy and pathos Yet there are signs that Moses\u2019s eccentricities have a darker origin. There is a brief reference to schizophrenia: Venus suggests he take the pills he has been prescribed to prevent him having visions (which we later see in the form of a talking horse). By hinting that Moses may have deeper psychological problems, Morris emphasises the targeting of disenfranchised populations \u2013 mostly people of colour and mostly poor \u2013 by government agencies, including the FBI and the police. These intermittent notes of sobriety make The Day Shall Come a superior film to Four Lions, Morris\u2019s first feature \u2013 although both contain his characteristic fast-paced dialogue. Beginning from Morris\u2019s premise that a terrorist cell is \u201cjust a bunch of blokes\u201d, Four Lions mocked our fears of the all-powerful terrorist bogeyman by showing the failures, ideological inconsistencies and patent chaos of a group of men trying to organise a suicide bombing attack. The Day Shall Come is slicker and pacier, but the film\u2019s great strength is its poignancy. Moses is a lovable character: his calls to pacifist forms of community, his \u201cmission to change the lives of poor people\u201d and his cultivation of small-scale crops resonate with mainstream ethical and moral concerns around the need for social equality and ecological change. \u2018Are we the baddies?\u2019 When I attended a recent screening of the film followed by a Q&A with Morris, the first question concerned the film\u2019s \u201cdownbeat ending\u201d. Morris responded by citing a sketch by Mitchell and Webb where the comedy duo, playing Nazis, wonder \u201care we the baddies?\u201d. Morris said he hoped that the film could help white audiences see their own collusion in racist politics. But as a white man making comedies about the lives of poor people from minorities, Morris himself remains open to the charge of exploiting their stories or indulging in stereotypes for laughs. Anna Kendrick, Denis O'Hare, Isaiah Stratton, and Adam David Thompson in The Day Shall Come (2019). Image courtesy of See-Saw Films Certainly, there is an element of buffoonery in the naive actions of the male members of Star of Six. This foolishness sits less easily than that of the men in Four Lions. These characters were, after all, people who trained to be suicide bombers. By contrast, Moses and his gang are well-meaning innocents. Morris has a particular talent for capturing the foibles, failings, and dark sides of masculinity. The two principal female characters in the film, Venus (Danielle Brooks) and FBI agent Kendra (Anna Kendrick) offer moments of reason in an otherwise ludicrous landscape of male calamity. Through a subtle range of disapproving facial expressions, Kendrick captures the quiet frustrations of a woman having to put up with penis jokes in a professional environment. But Venus and Kendra also get to land their own jokes \u2013 avoiding the indignity of being straight women to funnier male characters. Morris\u2019s particular brand of comedy, deliciously dark satire, leaves no character unscathed. The German sociologist, Hannah Arendt, argued that \u201cthe greatest enemy of authority, therefore, is contempt, and the surest way to undermine it is laughter\u201d. Morris\u2019s eye for the ridiculous is cast on everyone: not only those in authority, but their victims as well. Yet this piercing gaze is softer when it falls on Moses and his ministry, while for the FBI agents, there is ridicule without redemption. Maria Flood, Lecturer in Film Studies, Keele University This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.