Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Religulous (movie review)

I caught most of this, a last minute swerve in my schedule, after visiting with my friend Gordon.

Some of the talents Bill recruited to share time on camera were pretty interesting to me, like that guy in front of the Vatican, some late model priest. The Catholics come off as the most rational in this picture, compassionate towards a lost sheep.

The focus is mostly Middle Eastern prophetic religions, and Scientology a little, not much Buddhism for example. I wasn't clear on the Amsterdam guy's religion, but maybe that was the point.

I'm glad Bill wraps up his views with an impassioned sermon at the end, just to make it clear where he's coming from, in case anyone were unclear.

Whereas I certainly don't believe everything Bill does, the film comes across as a sincere inquiry, an earnest investigation. There's no depth psychology or Bill Moyers angle (a very different Bill).

Yes, Maher is somewhat heavy handed with the stereotypes, but that's a necessary short hand to point making, a permitted rhetorical ploy, especially in the comic tradition (Bill is a comedian).

He mostly sticks to the rules of debate with not too much ad hominem beyond basic ridicule, such as one might find in any stand up comic act.

It takes some courage to take on the world in this way, Michael Moore move over.