Brand: A Second Coming Review - This Will Change Your Opinion Of Russell Brand

[LFF 2015] Viva la revolution!

Russell Brand documentaries with ostentatious titles are like Katy Perry songs or jokes about how that showbiz pair used to be married - they just won't bloody stop. In April we got The Emperor's New Clothes and now, while that's still at full price in HMV, we have Brand: A Second Coming. But, unlike Michael Winterbottom's ostensibly well-meaning but confused propaganda piece for the "former" comedian's Trews movement, A Second Coming gets it right, adding a dose of perspective and winding up actually enlightening its subject. The key difference between the two films (and there are many - here there's a central narrative, with footage carefully edited together rather than freewheeling) is that A Second Coming doesn't feel like it was made with excessive involvement from Brand himself; director Ondi Timoner asks the star highly personal questions that make him uncomfortable and his numerous, grave indiscretions are obliquely explored. Excitingly, and exactly because there is some distance from The Trews and Revolution, it doesn't preach, or even condone, what Brand has to say (essentially that revolution is imminent). Instead it looks at why this kid from Grays in Essex wants to change the world. The result is painfully humanising; you will come to like Russell Brand. Yes, even if you despise him for Sachsgate or find the whole uprooting government concept highly idealistic, you feel his journey and the strife that comes with being a former drug-addict and funnyman trying to break into politics - seeing him being shot down my a Mail writer just for being a comedian cuts surprisingly deep. And, yes, despite better instincts you will begin to find the numerous segments of stand-up increasingly hilarious. The only other person you'll gain more appreciation for is Noel Gallagher, pal to Brand after he had an extended stint on the comedian's radio show. Every time the doc threatens to turn too self-involved, up the singer pops to shatter the mood with a hilariously straight forward observation; plainly thinking Brand and Perry's marriage was over when the former didn't know what to do when unable to decide on what film to watch is a particular highlight. His blunt observations embody the film, highlighting how divisive its subject is even amongst those who love him. The message isn't that Russell Brand is the second coming. It's not that he's going to lead to a "global revolution of consciousness". It's not even that he's right. It's that Brand has incited something, captured a feeling and wants to do something about it. And, for all his indiscretions, you have to admire him for that. Viewed at the BFI London Film Festival 2015.Brand: The Second Coming is in cinemas from 9th October (US) and 23rd October (UK)
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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.