Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Criterion Collection Spine #61
The greatest farce ever told!
... not really but it is a pretty catchy opening line don't you think ; )
"Excuse me. Are you the Judean People's Front? ... Fuck off! 'Judean People's Front'. We're the People's Front of Judea!"
Of the three big Monty Python movies, this one would be my least favorite since not as many of the gags stick with me compared to the others. It gets so ridiculous by the time the second act rolls around as Brian who was born in the stable next to Jesus, is constantly on the move, trying to get away from everyone who is mistaking him as the Messiah. 'You don't have to follow anybody ... we are all individuals!'
"He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! Now, piss off!"
Wow the Python gang pulled some serious double ore more duty with Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin playing different roles in some many of the scenes. I would say Idle and Cleese are my two favorites. Overall Life of Brian is a huge mixed bag of brilliant moments, but also a lot of rushed gags that fall flat.
By far the standout moment of the film for me has to be the 'Always look on the bright side of life' tune that ends the film. From time to time over the years I have found myself whistling that catchy tune and it always gives me chills watching within the context of the film with this powerful crucifixion imagery.
"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
Other brilliant elements include:
- The excellent down and dirty period production design
- How it pokes fun at other biblical epics
- Terry Gilliam's python style animated opening
Some of my favorite comedic moments include:
- Brian being corrected by the Roman on his graffiti
- The suicide squad
- Judean People
- The back and forth between Brian's mother and the crowd outside their
On the other side the Biggus Dickus and the rest of the gags involving Pilot fall flat for me, and the whole spaceship thing for some reason just felt so forced. I also don't like all the jump cuts and sped up footage they put in.
Despite this not being my favorite I still love the Pythons and it does have enough funny moments to keep me coming back again and again, typically around Easter season.
Thanks for reading!
Happy movie watching .... Cheers!