Review: Chris Morris’ ‘The Day Shall Come’ mines security threats and counterterrorism for laughs

Marchant Davis, 'The Day Shall Come'
Marchánt Davis in the movie “The Day Shall Come.”
(IFC Films)

Has fearless British satirist Chris Morris forged a new genre: the security threat farce? His 2010 U.K.-set comedy “Four Lions” found punishing laughs with hapless wannabe suicide bombers, and now, with “The Day Shall Come,” from inside the warped machinations of overzealous U.S. counterterrorism tactics on home soil.

When anti-gentrification black-power street preacher Moses (Marchánt Davis) needs cash to keep his and wife Venus’ (Danielle Brooks) threadbare community betterment operation afloat, he attracts the attention of a squabbling FBI team (Anna Kendrick, Denis O’Hare) all too ready to lay a Middle Eastern terrorism-funding trap on him with the help of their go-to cadre of paid Arab American informants.

Morris and co-writer Jesse Armstrong (“In the Loop,” “Succession”) aren’t the inventors of sting-crazed American law enforcement willing to fund an attack on their own government just for the arrest wins — Morris’ targets come from plenty of research into real follies fueling the war on terror. But boy, have they seasoned this appalling fact-based deployment of false reality with suitably hilarious character shadings (the cast hums), bureaucratic absurdities and devilishly tart, insult-twisty dialogue.

The result is a kind of rolling theater of racially targeted, manufactured peril that exploits the underprivileged, rewards corruption and ultimately — when the farce plays itself out — isn’t actually funny. But that’s only after it brilliantly is funny, producing plenty of acrid, world-upside-down laughter about the ridiculous truth behind some serious modern delusions about whom we should be scared of.

'The Day Shall Come'

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Playing: Starts Sept. 27, Alamo Drafthouse, Los Angeles; Arclight Hollywood; Arclight Sherman Oaks