Russell Brand cancels appearance at SXSW premiere of his own documentary, “BRAND: A Second Coming”

Alex Pelham

The manic, irreverent Russell Brand is a divisive figure. Some see him as a thoughtful, influential prophet who’s made it his mission to transform a corrupt society. Others view him as an egotistical, hypocritical troublemaker who stirs up controversy in order to suit a mad desire for fame.

On Friday, people from both schools of thought lined up to hear Brand’s take on popular culture and celebrity excess after the premiere of his film “BRAND: A Second Coming” — and many were left disappointed when Brand canceled his appearance hours before the event.

Finance and French junior Carl Koehler said he came to see the film because of his fascination with Brand.

“He’s a fairly entertaining comedian,” Koehler said. “His world views are interesting.”

A few hours before the premiere, Brand posted on his blog that he would not attend the festival. He wrote that reliving his struggles would be “very uncomfortable.”

Koehler said he’s disappointed that the comedian was a no-show.

“I was hoping to see him in person and ask him a question,” Koehler said. “I don’t know what I would ask him, but I wish I had had the opportunity.”

More than likely, Brand’s documentary won’t change the audience’s perceptions of the comedian. Nevertheless, the film’s use of Brand’s observant, vulgar humor makes the film a treat. It shines a spotlight on Brand’s troubled past and gives him a platform to explain his attempt to save our world.

Rating: 7/10 Katy Perry’s ex-husbands

Follow Daily Texan movie reviewer Alex Pelham as he explores all that SXSW Film has to offer at @TalkingofPelham.