Brand: The Second Coming review: ‘A sympathetic but rounded portrait’

17:22 24 October 2015

Russell Brand Opens Trew Era Cafe. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

Russell Brand Opens Trew Era Cafe. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

PA/Press Association Images

It’s the establishment who are ultimately left laughing in this thoughtful Russell Brand documentary, says Michael Joyce.

In the ‘70s sitcom Citizen Smith, the leader of the Tooting Popular Front proclaims that after the revolution nobody will have names, just numbers. “What will your number be?” he is asked. “No.1 of course.” The figure of Wolfie Smith is a cheap stick with which to beat Russell Brand with, but when a self-declaimed egotist and narcissist starts talking about revolution, a wise person is wary.

At the start of the film, when Jeremy Paxman is asked if Brand could lead a revolution in this country, he replies, “that’s a really stupid question,” and for a while it looks like this may be a really stupid film. In the time-honoured fashion we see Brand taking us back to his childhood home in Grays, Essex, barging in on the family that live there now and explaining to them what he used to do in their bathroom. From there though the film takes us through the story of his life, which is basically trading up one addiction for the next: obsessive drinking and drug taking is replaced by frantic womanising which is replaced by enormous fame and now political activism.

Brand can be intensely annoying, mostly because he states the bleeding obvious as if it was some great revelation he’s just come up with. He is though often very funny (though not as funny as Noel Gallagher who pops up three times in this film and kills each time) and even if his assesments of politics are obvious, they are right.

Timonen’s film is a sympathetic but rounded portrait that allows for dissenting voices to be heard and often Brand is his own most effective critic. He seems to realise the absurdity of his situation and the shallowness of his motivations. I came out of the film with a lot more respect for him than when I went in, but still wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. He’s a stand-up comic – they’re the biggest monsters of all. Elected on Thursday, he’d be Pol Pot by Friday. When the anti-establishment cause is a choice between a Pound Shop Enoch Powell and a Mock the Week Che Guevara, I’d say the establishment is the one laughing longest and loudest.

For longer reviews and a first look at Spectre go to halfmanhalfcritic.weebly.com

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 17:50
Jay Rayner's Ten Food Commandments offer 'moral guidance'

Jay Rayner talks to Zoe Paskett about his new book and one man show, The Ten (Food) Commandments

Yesterday, 22:30
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (right) could soon be lining up alongside Tottenham's Victor Wanyama (left) after Spurs made a move to sign the 23-year-old today

Mauricio Pochettino admits he would like to sign a pacy attacking midfielder before the end of the transfer window as Tottenham seek to bring Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha to White Hart Lane.

Yesterday, 17:14
Nina Martynchyk with her foster mother, Nina B

A young woman who overcame anorexia is organising a conference with the Royal Free Hospital to draw attention to how the condition affects children and teenagers

Yesterday, 16:06
War Dogs. Picture: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star in War Dogs, a black comedy about two gunrunners who made a fortune procuring weapons for the US military

Yesterday, 16:01
Highgate School

Students and staff at Highgate school were reflecting on a very impressive set of GCSE results today, with 88.2 percent of exams receiving a grade of A* or A.

Yesterday, 16:00
Pupils at Highgate Wood School are proud of their results. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The Headteacher has congratulated pupils as the school achieves best results in four years, bucking the national trend

Yesterday, 18:13
Belsize Grove

It’s little wonder that Belsize Park’s stucco-fronted houses, trendy status and proximity to some of London’s top school attract young professionals and families alike.

Yesterday, 13:26
GCSE Results day at Fortismere School. Photo: Nigel Sutton

The Headteacher is pleased the gap between the grades of children eligible for school meals and wealthier pupils has “significantly” reduced

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now