HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Across The Universe
Year: 2009
Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Peter Stormare, Daniel Newman, Paloma Faith, Cassandra Sawtell, Carolyn Pickles, Monsterrat Lombard, Simon Day, Mark Benton
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In one part of London tonight there is magic at work, but due to its presentation and its setting you'd be hard pressed to fathom it from appearances. Parked outside of a pub and unfurled as a stage is a mobile theatre upon which lies the so-called Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, with the doctor himself (Christopher Plummer) sitting crossed legged on a transparent pedestal, but seemingly not quite all there. His master of ceremonies, Anton (Andrew Garfield) tries to drum up business to persuade uninterested passersby up onto the stage to enter the portal to imagination, but tonight the troupe's fortunes will be decidedly mixed...

When Heath Ledger died, it was natural that his projects as yet unreleased would be the focus of a high degree of interest, especially when one of them was the blockbusting Batman movie The Dark Knight. That particular effort proved worthy of the huge anticipation it had generated, but what of the production he was shooting when he passed away? That was this Terry Gilliam film, and although Ledger had performed in over half his scenes, it was wondered whether the director would be able to complete the whole thing and still have a film that made sense and had some kind of narrative flow about it.

As it was, once audiences saw the finished result, which due to its fantasy nature had been possible to rewrite to cast three guest stars to fill in for Ledger, much of the reaction was that perhaps it wouldn't have made much sense even if its star had not tragically left it. Coherence was not this movie's strong point, and more than one viewer was pleased to have seen Ledger's final work, but unable to grasp what exactly Gilliam had been getting at: what was the point to it all? As with many of this talent's entertainments, the concerns of storytelling were paramount, as Parnassus was a weaver of tales that he did not always reach the end of, but even with that knowledge, telling a story was not the strongest aspect here.

Ledger played Tony, found hanging from a bridge apparently dead by the Imaginarium troupe and without much memory of who he is, athough he has cheated death by lodging a metal pipe in his throat to keep his airway open. Tony joins up with his rescuers, and we at first think he is a decent enough soul as he proves a shot in the arm for the business, but he has his own less than helpful motives, which in truth make an uneasy fit with the overall repsectful tone Ledger's fans might have hoped for. The business itself remains a thing of mystery even at the end, but involves Parnassus inviting customers into a dreamland where they can see their heart's desire, which in theory should improve their lives, or it would if the Devil (Tom Waits) was not lurking there behind the makeshift mirror.

The trademark Gilliam look extends to the production design, with the Imaginarium itself a ramshackle contraption, but mixed with this is some decidedly un-Gilliamesque computer animation, which may have been cheaper but ironically ends up far more jarring than seeing Tony played by the stars who stepped in once he enters the other side. Ledger casts a long shadow over this film, perhaps even more than Gilliam, who here scripted with Charles McKeown (a partnership that had developed some of his finest works), but that's not simply because of the leading man's demise. He genuinely comes across as the one actor who has a handle on all of this, as everyone else is all at sea in the director's fantasia, not that they're bad, as they all perform just as they should, it's just that they never connect with those watching. It's a bewildering film that may reward repeated viewings, but so offputting that if it were not for these people creating it, would be hard to recommend seeing twice if you didn't "get" it the first time around. Music by Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4316 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Terry Gilliam  (1940 - )

Endlessly imaginative American director and animator who gained fame as one of the Monty Python team. He co-directed the Pythons' films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python's Meaning of Life, but also helmed his own projects, starting with Jabberwocky and Time Bandits.

The brilliant Brazil was beset with production problems, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was nearly a complete disaster. After that, Gilliam directed other people's stories: The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm. 2006's controversial Tideland returned Gilliam to independent filmmaking, while his failed attempt to bring Don Quixote to the screen was documented in the painful Lost in La Mancha.

His next, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, survived the death of its lead actor, and The Zero Theorem was a melancholy sci-fi which proved he could work quickly and efficiently after all. He finally succeeded with The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in 2018.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: