Review: Movie: “Religulous”

If you know anything about Bill Mahr you know that he is an atheist Democrat. Religulous will further drill that simple fact into your mind…over and over and over. Anyone ‘surprised’ about Religulous has probably been sitting under a rock for the past eight years. the movie is just a long version of Bill Mahr’s HBO show and doesn’t attempt to be anything; but, the one sided atheist propaganda that it is.

And It’s Great.

If you don’t have an open mind about the negative aspects of religion then this isn’t the film for you. As stated before the movie is intensely one minded; only focusing on the REALLY ridiculous aspects of religion and poking humor at the people who follow it. This film clearly has to, clearly, be watched with a grain of salt. Anyone willing to take Mahr’s answers as simple fact is deeply misguided and apparently inattentive considering that Mahr’s take on the film is that he does not have the answers and he preaches the word of “I don’t know”. However if you’re a person who sees the use of religion to justify silly and terrible actions then this is a great film to watch to know that you’re not alone in a country seemingly filled with “bible thumpers”. Some of the images in the film will be a bit jarring; but, they are not doctored it is merely a mirror image of the world that we currently live in. The film should push the viewer into a different train of thought hopefully allowing for them to make their own choice about faith and religion or at very least incite a lot of good laughs before it’s rather…downbeat ending.

Religulous starts off with Catholicism and ends with Islam, in between finding the time to ridicule Judaism, Christianity,  Mormonism and, surprisingly briefly, Scientology. Mahr’s approach isn’t to go to religious leaders and say “you’re wrong’; but, merely ask them questions and see if they can answer them. Unsurprisingly most of them cannot answer a question with simple facts; but, rather with more lore and fantasy. The friendly tone of them film does allow for the subject to be swallowed easier, occasionally the film will smack the viewer in the face with images of suicide bombings or audio tapes of a woman who killed her sons because god ‘told her so’, but overall it’s a film to laugh with; AT religion.

Your first impression of the film will probably be that Mahr is a funny guy. Anyone who isn’t aware that Bill Mahr is one of the funniest political comedians of our time then the first half hour of Religulous will sell that to them with ease. as the movie progresses you realize that this isn’t an atheist screaming against religion because they don’t like it; Mahr’s point is that Religion is dangerous when in the hand of simple minded human beings. And while Mahr doesn’t ever defend religion he seemingly puts the blame more on the people who are in power rather than the teachings themselves.

Mahr brilliantly shows the hypocrisy in religion and it’s leader with funny; but, slightly disturbing interviews with Reverends and U.S. Senators, the latter at one point explaining that ‘there isn’t a I.Q. test to get into the senate’. At this declaration it’s a wonder why people are outraged at who’s running our country and Mahr is light; but, not subtle on President Bush.

Mahr’s interviews are punctuated with him poking fun at some customs; but, mostly with the simple-minded foolishness of people who are blindly holding on to faith because they were told so. From living into fish in Christianity to defending assassinations of people who speak against your religion in Islam; Mahr doesn’t have to say much before the religious folk put their own foot in their mouths. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any god points by the religious in fact analogy seemed to get through to Mahr when “Jesus” (a man playing the role in Florida’s “Holy land Experience”) explains that Jesus, God and the Holy ghost are like water which can retain three forms (Ice, liquid and steam for all of you readers not caught up with science.) Mahr takes a moment to say that the explanation is a good one; the idea is still a corck of shit; but, a good explanation nontheless.

Overall I found myself hoping that Religulous wouldn’t end when it did. It has all the shock and awe humor of Borat with the intellectual humor of Mahr and the urgency of “An Inconvenient Truth”; it would be wise to catch Religulous this week instead of wasting money or “Beverley Hills Chihuahua”, “Quarantine” or “Body of Lies” Those three movies combine don’t even begin to touch the first 15 minutes of Religulous.

Grade: A

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