Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Religulous (2008)

Directed by Larry Charles. It's really about time someone made a movie like this; not an objective examination of religious diversity but an outright indictment of its usefulness. Comedian Bill Maher's shows kooky religious followers, crooked religious leaders, maps this long legacy and speculates that not only is this headed for a deep dark future, it can be blamed for many current problems and feared as one source for our eventual collapse.

Maher is the intellectual superior of his subjects, so while his humor makes powerful points his smirky victimization of them is sometimes uncomfortable. I didn't care about the greedy TV reverends or people like that, but the simple people at religious theme parks that foolish enough to talk to him made me squirm a little. Cinematically, these people are sacrificial lambs.

Maher shows that in the Middle East oil provides everyone the luxury to argue about religion and allow that discord to impeded all other progress. In this country, religion is used to impede legal and commercial freedoms. For a comedy, "Religulous" makes ominous points, though nothing that hasn't been on my mind before. This is not a criticism, it's an accolade.

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