Anthony's Film Review

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

The second film with the famous British comedy team is sacrilegious and silly...

After twisting the legend of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Pythons (John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam) went on to their next target for humorous ridicule: religion. Monty Python's Life of Brian is sure to offend any devout Christian, Catholic, and defender of politically correct humor. Thankfully, I am none of these three. I can therefore say, with nothing to offend me, that I found the film to be amusing and silly.

Life of Brian is an alternate version of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Instead of Jesus, the central character is Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), a peasant who lives with his mother (Terry Jones). Brian is a Jew, at least he thinks he is. He soon learns that he's actually Roman because his mother was raped by a Roman soldier named Nautius Maximus. Despite this revelation, Brian hates the Romans, enough to join an underground band of rebels and deface buildings with Latin graffiti.

The Romans are not the only ones trying to chase Brian. There is also a crowd of peasants who claim that Brain is the Messiah. He doesn't really do anything extraordinary. He just gives simple practical advice. Yet, the crowd interprets this as miraculous, and they become so devout that they consider any detail as a sign from God, including Brian's missing slipper.

If you don't care about the plot, that's OK. You can also look at Life of Brian as a series of comedy sketches. Many of them involve characters who get distracted and go off on a tangent. In an early scene, for example, a stoning is about to occur, but it doesn't go as planned because there is always someone throwing a stone too early. Another funny example features Pontius Pilate (Michael Palin) ready to punish Brian but is distracted when his guards keep laughing at dirty-sounding Roman names. If you ask me what my favorite scenes are, I can name two. One, Brian falling to his death only to be saved by something completely out of place in this movie. Two, Brian telling his followers to leave him alone, doing so in an unexpectedly blasphemous way.

I thought Life of Brian was a funny movie, though not as funny as Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also didn't do anything new from the previous film. It's just another opportunity for the Pythons to do what they do best: delivering satire with no limits. They can turn something that's not funny into something that's funny, like the finale of this movie involving crucifixion. That scene makes you think about life, particularly the bright side of it. After all, that's the purpose of comedy.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Monty Python's Life of Brian, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my reviews of the following:

Monty Python in Film Monty Python on Television


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