Posted Oct 28 2015

Brand: A Second Coming - This Messiah Complex Rocks

Dir:Ondi Timoner

Starring Russell Brand. His Mum, some other less important people...Noel Galagher

There’s no doubt there’s a terrific mind housed in the body of Russell Brand.  But what Timoner’s fascinating – and at times hilarious – doc wants to know is just what the state of that mind is. And the short answer is, it’s in a state of permanent flux.

Timoner’s smart movie chronicles the life of a man who once told his mum he was the second coming of Christ, and who during the course of filming was undergoing a tour titled Messiah Complex, and then decided to write a book calling for nothing less than a complete Revolution of western society and consciousness. Oh, yeah – and in between he does stand up.

Brand himself wisely states here that if he wasn’t funny, he would be intolerable. Smart man. But the truth is, he is funny, at times, very funny, and also compulsive as a speaker. Yes, he uses that old flowery language to obfuscate the fact that he may not be talking about much, but this film isn’t about that. It’s more a study of the man’s ego than the man himself. And as such it’s riveting. Brand’s voice may well be naïve, but he’s completely aware of that naivety, just passionate to move beyond it. It is ultimately the voice of an addict though, one who has moved from drugs to sex to fame and celebrity to trying to effect change in the world. But he knows that’s his voice. And the question becomes - is he really desperately in need of that change, or desperately in need of being seen as the one who affected it? (Again, he’s so self aware – yet strangely delusional – that he knows that too.) But he has the good grace to be funny about it (for the most part) and share his insights with the likes of Mike Tyson, David Lynch and Jeremy Paxman amongst others.

His former wife got to exploit him in her wonderful doc Katy Perry: Part Of Me, and here Brand’s filmmaker of choice gets to return the favour. But what that serves to show is – as Timoner wants – the real heart of the man. Brand is an open wound here. But one who knows how to talk about both the wound and it’s openness. It’s fascinating to watch, but let’s always remember, if the movie wasn’t so funny – directly and indirectly – it might well be intolerable.

As ever, Noel Gallagher turns out to be the smartest man in the room. Duke of Manchester? Yeah, why not!



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