Religulous (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/04/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

By turns provocative, informative and very, very funny, Religulous is an engaging and frequently fascinating documentary that should be seen by both believers and non-believers alike.

What's it all about?
Directed by Larry Charles, Religulous follows comedian Bill Maher as he embarks on a mission to examine the nature of religious belief. Opening the film with an introduction filmed at Megiddo (the location of Armageddon, as prophesied in Revelation), Maher astutely points out that when Revelation was written, only God had the power to destroy the world and uses this for a springboard to question whether mankind still needs God.

Maher's quest takes him all over the world. He questions Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Scientologists, cynics, atheists and everyone in between, but he's careful to maintain his position of someone seeking answers to important questions, rather than exposing his subjects to out and out ridicule (though, naturally, given that the film is directed by the man who made Borat, there's a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle under-cutting). In addition, Charles and Maher pack the film with amusing cut-aways from a variety of sources and occasionally resort to comedy captions, such as a series of arrows labelling onscreen “infidels”.

The Good
Religulous has several hilarious highlights, most notably an interview with the employee who plays Jesus at Florida's mind-boggling Holy Land Experience theme park. There are also several amusingly off-guard subjects, such as an evangelical State senator who chuckles that you don't need to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate.

The Great
The film's at its most effective when it's examining faith in politics or challenging blindly-held religious beliefs, such as the creation myth (the Creation Museum in Kentucky is genuinely disturbing), but Maher goes out of his way to present a fair and balanced view throughout and the ratio between laughs and information or provocative points is about equal.

Worth seeing?
Religulous is an extremely entertaining documentary that delivers plenty of laughs but will also leave you with something to think about, regardless of your political persuasion. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Religulous (15)
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Content updated: 24/03/2019 17:42

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