Director: Terry Jones
“While trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid accusations of blasphemy by clearly establishing that Graham Chapman’s Brian is “not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy,” Life of Brian plays fast and loose with New Testament characters, and along the way makes both satirical and moral points.” (641, Karen Krizanovich, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)
Of all the Python’s the one that I would actually choose to watch would be Life of Brian, and on top of that I also find it funny unlike the others.
“Although, the movie, like all the other Python films is essentially a collection of surreal, violent, and very funny sketches held together with a loose narrative thread, this one has – for obvious reasons – a strong story.” (641) It feels more cohesive and put together than Holy Grail, which is most likely because there is a stronger sense of narrative. Life of Brian clearly benefits from having one director this time round, resulting in a more singular vision. In the capable hands of Terry Jones there is a much stronger sense of visual aesthetic – and none of the crazy, if wonderfully crafted, animation elements that Gilliam bought to Holy Grail.
Life of Brian is wonderfully satirical with the signature dry humor Python bring to their most memorable sketches. And thankfully less of the puerile humor that I just don’t see the point of.
Graham Chapman is once again the unwitting hapless hero though a more engaging one than Arthur on Holy Grail. There are some very memorable and clever sequences in Life of Brian – particularly the brilliant ‘Well what did the Roman’s ever do for us’ speech. The stoning scene highlights the oft-times irrational attitudes towards the subject of religion in general, and blasphemy in particular.
Despite it’s extremely silly nature I love the fact that Caesar cannot say his r’s, along with a friend named Bigus Dickus – who also has a speech impediment when he appears. I was practically crying with laughter during that scene.
If I ever have to recommend a Monty Python film to someone still naïve in the knowledge of the comedy troupe it would definitely be Life of Brian – mainly because it is the only one of their films that I actually find comical and therefore their best work in my opinion.