Monty Python's Life of Brian Reviews
Watched this on 28/11/14
What a film, oh what a film!!! It's so good to see Religion mocked and not just that, I haven't laughed like this in ages. This reminds me of the American Pie days. This film is so satirical that it mocks literally every one, from Jesus to Romans, from the common folk of Rome to the Judas of Jerusalem, who are so blinded by stupidity that they believe anyone's god. It's a great great movie, never laughed like this anywhere before. Also it's got porn, oh yeah it has. The visual effects( Terry Gilliam), sets and direction(Terry Jones) are all marvelous.
Comedy is a tricky thing to achieve, as each individual develops their own brand and sensitivities of humour. From the age of 9, I was mainly introduced by the slapstick and childish humour of Adam Sandler and friends, which is why I cannot completely dismiss those films as complete garbage due to the nostalgia factor. As I grew, my comedic tastes have becomes more fine-tuned and become more appreciative of the intelligent and artistic intentions of the writers and actors behind their craft; but in saying that, I am still anchored by the sensibilities of my foundations.
Many consider Life of Brian to be a risky and offensive film, but in all honesty, the film does not even take any jabs at Christianity or other religion in its chosen time period. The film instead pokes fun at the life, values and culture of humanity during that period in time; this allowed the film to become more intelligent in its humour, as it would have been too easy to just simply create a satire on Jesus and his life. This approach also allows the film to raise and tackle more original and thought provoking ideas and themes, standing out shining from its peers. What drew me in and kept me entertained, was the film's ability to make fun of the Romans and keeping its perspective completely grounded on the citizens of Judea; the writers could have followed members of the Roman Empire and showed the stupidity of their values through poor and idiotic decision making.
Though the film takes bold and unique steps in its satire, it lacks the comedic punch needed in a couple of its key scenes. Some moments felt overly long and characters sometimes show desperation in their comedic execution, allowing the material to suffer rather than flourish. I know it sounds pretentious of me, but Life of Brian could have used some character development throughout his journey. The film concludes with a song that actually packs a philosophical punch in its lyrics and wraps the film's larger ideas; but in regards to the character Brian, I never got a conclusion that justifies the importance of his story.
Boldness and intelligent satire define Life of Brian but issues found in the film's screenplay, prevented the film from being an amazing comedy. Though I was let down with this film, I still possess hope in Monty Python's other films.
The Monty Python comedy troupe tell the story of a young lad in Nazereth named Brian. Born under a bright star in a manger, Brian is visited at birth by Three Wise Men, bearing gifts of gold, frankenscence and myrhh, which are happily accepted by Brian's mother (although no-one quite knew what the myrhh was). Then, the Wise Men realize the Messiah was born next door. Hence begins the life of Brian. We follow his life as he joins the People's Front of Judea - a left-wing anarchist movement opposed to Roman occupation, and gets into hijinks that make people believe he is the Son of God. Despite Brian's complaints.
The film stars the entire Monty Python troupe - Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam - alongside guest stars Susan Jones, Neil Innes, Carol Cleveland, Spike Milligan and producer George Harrison in a cameo (George Harrison reportedly financed this entire movie by mortgaging his house. When questioned by his wife, George responded "I want to see the film".) The cast is a funny, nonsensical and silly as you'd expect from a Monty Python film.
It touted controversy as "the film that mocked Jesus", but this film makes it very clear that Jesus is a different person (who is even seen performing his Sermon on the Mount in the "Blessed are the Cheesemakers" skit). What's left in a mirror into the role of religion in life, and a hilarious one at that. Nothing is sacred with the Pythons, and this is the group's magnum opus - with all due respect to the Holy Grail of course.
A glowing 5 star rating for this masterpiece.