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  • Gareth Crook

Life of Brian (1979) - 7/10

My mini Python marathon (just a trilogy really) continues with Life of Brian. I’ve long thought this was my favourite Python film, but The Holy Grail has just made me question that. I’ve never watched them back to back before and it’s clear the budget has certainly increased. Gilliam’s opening titles too take a big leap, which is saying something. So we replace drizzly locations in Scotland for the desert oranges of Tunisia. To follow young Roman hating Brian (Graham Chapman) riding his luck and getting mistaken for the messiah. It’s not as quotable as Grail that’s for sure, but it feels a lot more coherent and with Brian and his mum (Terry Jones) you’ve two central characters that really anchor it. Okay there are plenty of great lines too. “I’m a Red Sea pedestrian and proud of it”. Before long Brian joins the farcically useless Peoples Front of Judea (make sure you get the name right) and gets himself in a spot of bother with the Romans. Which brings me to Micheal Palin’s misunderstood Pontius Pilate. His introduction brings the first proper laughs off screen and on. It’s not that it’s not funny up to this point, I think its just Palin seems to step the humour up a notch. Now I say it’s more coherent than Grail but that doesn’t stop the introduction of aliens briefly abducting Brian as he’s on the run first from the Romans, then some dimwitted disciples. “Alright I am the messiah. Now, fuck off!” To be honest, it’s not as good as I remember. It’s all good, but really it’s all about the panto scene with Brian, his mum and the masses at his window, “He’s not the messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!” Great as that scene is though, the reason I’d mistakenly thought of this as my favourite Python film is the finale. Where it has to be said The Holy Grail ends rather abruptly. Here we get one of the best movie songs of all time. ‘Bright Side of Life’ is a stone cold classic and really lifts this at the death. So as much as rewatching this has me rethinking how much I like it, it’s still a wonderfully daft film.


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