A Liar's Autobiography
Adapted from the fictionalised account of Chapman's life he co-wrote with his partner David Sherlock (among others) and using a Chapman voiceover he recorded in the years before his death in 1989, A Liar's Autobiography skips through the comedian's life. Oddly it stops to concentrate on something unusual (a family holiday in a rainy Scarborough when he was a teen) while hurrying past the major events: His first meeting with the Pythons and the making of The Life of Brian slip by without fanfare. We know it's 1980 and Life of Brian has been written, shot and released because Chapman is voicing the links for the record release (of which this reviewer is a proud owner). But that's all we get on their finest hour. At 85 minutes running time there's no standing on ceremony here.
Some of the animated sequences, inspired in no small measure by Terry Gilliam's segues in Flying Circus and voiced by all Pythons except Idle, invoke the series imagery and Chapman's characters, but also work on Chapman's subconscious when he was supressing his homosexuality in school and college. One such sketch sees a Chapman-esque character caught in a Biggles story where he is the third of three pilots under enemy fire; two of the pilots engage in innuendo while the ignored Chapman retreats to the back to read Freud (Diaz). Yep - there are layers to this.
There are darker episodes that tackle his alcoholism and brief moments that include actual television interviews. More of the latter would have been welcome. Chapman's flippant narration joins the episodes - all shot with the maniacal nonsense style synonymous with Flying Circus - and throws up some funny one-liners: "After a trip to North America I gave up medicine and became a raging poof."
A Liar's Autobiography, in truth, isn't particularly funny and Python fans looking for more than just the broad strokes they might know already will feel let down but the presentation is quite unique. Kind of like Monty Python's Flying Circus: There are moments that tickle and those that fall flat.
Review by Gavin Burke | 11:46 | Thursday 7th February 2013 | Movie Review
This one is more for die hard Monty Python fans like myself. I didn't think much of it and felt it would have been better suited to a Monty Python Night on BBC Two.Posted 16:50 | Sat 9th Feb 2013
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