Shocking, humorous, provocative and purely interesting, Ondi Timoner’s latest documentary Brand: A Second Coming looks at the life and rise of one of Britain’s most unique comedians, Russell Brand. The film takes us, in particular, through his journey to produce a changed spiritual mind-self and his motivation for a socialist way of life.
Brand, a self-defined narcissist, struggled during his childhood as a result of behavioural issues and living within a rough area of Essex in England. Along with coming from a broken home, it was through comedy and drama that he found an outlet to express himself.
However, through his adolescence this was not always enough, as Brand often turned to drugs to deal with his issues. As his fame increased through his comedy acts and his role as a television personality, Brand’s behaviour and controversial sense of humour was soon widely known within the UK. He often made the news due to his nightlife antics, opinions and views. Following this, Brand felt the need to increase his popularity and decided to head to the United States of America where he stared in numerous Hollywood films and soon married the highly successful singer Katy Perry. However, Brand soon come to the realisation that this was not the life he wanted to life, that this life was artificial.
Within the film, Timoner describes how Brand felt reawakened and decides to use his comedy as a political act of change; particularly through his show the Messiah Complex, along with writing a book about his revolution and the development of a YouTube account where he discusses his ideas and opinions regarding contemporary news. Brand explains that we need to change as people, that we are exploiting the world’s resources and those living in poverty. He explains that due to this we need to alter our way of life and that we need to be more spiritually conscious.
Whilst following Russell through his daily life of trying to evoke a spiritual revolution, Ondi also talks with those most close to him. Ondi chats with Russell’s mother about his beliefs and current endeavours. She also converses with his father about his past life and a previous girlfriend regarding his personality and behaviour. Through this, the film examines and portrays a reflection of Brand’s nature and an understanding of how he got to be the person that he is today. Consequently the director’s style is greatly interesting and informative.
The documentary is truly inspiring, viewing the life of someone who had everything that society deems as perfect – living in Hollywood, leading an extravagant lifestyle, married to a popstar. Yet, he believed that his life was not rewarding and this film follows that revolution and his continuous attempt to create change.
The movie is certainly worth the watch. It makes you think about everything that we value within modern society and that it might just be time for us to take a look at the bigger picture.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Brand: A Second Coming is available on DVD now.