A Liar's Autobiography (2012). This new mockumentary of the same name follows in a similarly fallacious vein, attempting to capture Chapman's camp, witty and surreal personality through a series of animations. At times these animations are reminiscent of American-born Python Terry Gilliam's unique style, but vary in success and quality as they shift between CGI and traditional hand-drawn characters.
Chapman's life, as it is presented, shows a journey of addiction to tobacco, alcohol and sex as he moves from his working class background to Cambridge University (where he met lifelong friend John Cleese) to his premature death in 1989. The erratic nature of this (at best) mildly comic feature means it possesses little narrative cohesion, jumping between the numerous pivotal points of the comedian's life. Surprisingly the film lacks any moments of real comedy. Like bubblegum, it's lurid and occasionally pops, but it's also as hollow as a bubble, with the same nutritional value.
A Liar's Autobiography, where numerous animations revel in crass delight of Chapman's plethora of sexual encounters. Occasionally, the plot leans towards demonstrating that Chapman was a man who, whilst open about his sexuality, was equally uncomfortable with being gay - a very British trait of the era.
Disappointingly, this straightforward adaptation of the faux biography gives precious little serious insight and never holds much weight. Instead, Jones, Simpson and Timlett prefer to indulge in endless scenes of a cartoon Chapman bonking everything in sight (male or female) as he chugs back glass after glass of whisky, represented in increasingly blundering animations. The odd choice of 3D further weakens the film, where the usual dull, gimmicky tricks (things unconvincingly flying out at you ad nauseam) have been inappropriately employed with little care or forethought.
There is a strong sense that Chapman's self-deprecating lyrical prose, used to narrate the story, works far, far better on the page. However, the very way that A Liar's Autobiography has been brought to the big screen saps all the flavour and humour, lacking any of the real bite possessed by one of our most beloved Pythons.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs from 10-21 October. For more of our LFF coverage, simply follow this link.
Film of the Week
★★★★☆ The famous Bechdel Test - taken from a 1985 comic strip by Alison Bechdel - has over the past few years become an ever more popul...
★☆☆☆☆ If you go out into the furthest reaches of Star Trek's filmography you'll be in for an unsettling discovery - the final ...
★★★☆☆ When The Bourne Ultimatum was released in 2007, star Matt Damon felt that the story of his amnesiac-assassin protagonist had b...
★★★★☆ Can time heal all wounds, or are certain indiscretions immune to the sympathetic ebb and flow of life? That's the quandary po...
★★☆☆☆ A documentary fronted by George Galloway, who narrates The Killings of Tony Blair as if he's recounting a horror story aro...