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Religulous Blu-ray Review - -

Feature 8.5
Video 7.5
Audio 6.0
Special Features 5.0
Total 7.0

Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Reviewer: Mark Beresford
: M15+



Bill Maher, actor, political satirist, observational humorist, talk show host, general protagonist, and now, documentary film maker. Maher has built his career on explaining his point of view in the most comedic way he knows how, generally his point of view will immediately split the crowd down the middle, and his latest film Religulous is absolutely no different, in fact, itís the best example.

Maher visits and interview people from some of the biggest and some of the smallest examples of modern religion establishments on the planet, from visiting the Vatican to the bible slapping Salt Lake City to Jerusalem and even to one of the stranger visits in Amsterdam, all in the name of ĎWhy the hell are you doing that?í. Maher simply doesnít understand in people viewing a higher power and wishes to look into all religions and their structures to find out why they dedicate their lives to their cause.

The material is plenty here, as Bill goes over all the major religions and their players, he also somehow manages to get permission to film and interview several high rollers in the organised religious stakes, but the real entertainment is Bills interviewing skills. When finding out that there is a Movie World style theme park based on  Jesus and he execution and resurrection, that seems strange enough for one, but Maher seems to add a few more layers of crazy using his own wit and skill. Instead of using a Michael Moore brute force method of interviewing and film styling, Maher speaks with the players, lets them answer a question, and then uses their own answer to slingshot back into their face, leaving the greatest and most bewildered looks on many faces. He isnít trying to make the interviewees look like idiots, but it becomes abundantly clear that while they may walk onto the screen with all the confidence and answers they think they will ever need, Maher is simply too strong and knows exactly how to pluck away at the layers until the brutal honesty beneath is revealed. Itís these interviews that develop into the story of Bill, while still under the opinion that most of the people he talked to are clearly delusional, appears slightly lost in the masses of belief structures, and while wanting something to grasp onto, there is nothing he can trust in.

While the movie has a very biased guide in showing what the idea of religion has done to modern man, it still allows for the option of using the information given to make up your own mind, which is massively important in any documentary film, let alone one on a topic such as this.

Directed by Larry Charles of Borat and Bruno fame, the film is shot in virtually the exact same style and was the perfect selection for the feature. The aggressive zooms and eye level focus gives a cemented look into each personís emotional rollercoaster as the crew travel around the world debunking along the way. Visually the Bluray quality isnít anything fantastic, while the colours, backgrounds and skin tones are perfectly represented, the quality of the footage is nothing that couldnít have been handled by a standard DVD disk, and side by side, i doubt any comparison would show a difference. Audio wise, itís much the same boat, as the audio is 99% dialogue based on your standard documentary equipment (Shirt and Boom mikes) the Dolby 5.1 rarely comes into play, and when it does have a minor kick, it acts as somewhat of a distraction more than a blessing.

Overall, in typical Maher style, this film will anger a lot of people, belief structures arenít something that members like being questioned, so if you belong to one of the majors, prepare to be enraged a little, but the interviews are so well done and presented, itís hard to compare them to anything. It follows a entertaining story which informs and observes, and most importantly, it makes you think. Instead of inserting funny cartoons and novel skits in to entertain in between scenes, the entertainment is the film itself. If you have a open mind, or THINK you have a open mind, you must watch this film, and see just how open minded you really are.

Special Features:              

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Directors Commentary


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