new film review: religulous

If I weren’t the proverbial tree falling in the forest, I could imagine getting comments about Religulous review akin to the waving fists big-timers get whenever they review a politically loaded film. Comments that would accuse me injecting my own personal views and not doing a straight-up review. After all, people don’t read reviews for politics or religion…they want to know about the movie. Right?

Well, no. While it’s important to judge a movie on its own merits, it’s also important to contextualize it. And critics inevitable contextualize a film by drawing on his/her own experiences and philosophies. There is nothing dishonest about this; dishonest is the critic who pretends to be somebody else. In fact, knowing something about a film critic’s ideological stance – and it needn’t be “ideological” per se – can help put the review itself in context. For example: an atheist (like me) reviewing Religulous will have a different take on the film than a Christian. Potential questions arise, such as: what does it mean if a Christian enjoys a film that is critical of religion? Or, what does it mean if an atheist doesn’t like a film promoting atheism? There’s more going on than simply supporting or rejecting a film simply on the basis of ideology, and that’s another example of honesty; just because a film has a message you like doesn’t mean it’s a good film. Differences in perspective, then, can only be good; they yield richer interpretations.
The man behind “Politically Incorrect” on Comedy Central and, currently, “Real Time” on HBO, launches a bold, sorely-needed broadside against religion. The result is typical Bill Maher; unapologetic, blunt, and (mostly) funny as hell. But for a film that, with an irreverent game of gotcha, points out the ridiculous in various religions’ beliefs, Maher’s cannonade isn’t so much aimed at creating cognitive dissonance in believers but to shake atheists from their timidity in the face of nonsense. Read the rest in Bill Maher Takes Aim at the Ridiculous in Religion.

No comments: