Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Movie: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
To explain a film like The Imaginarium, a reviewer invariably turns to describing the unusual style of the director. Terry Gilliam is the director, and anyone familiar with his movies (try Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or the more disturbing Tideland) knows that he is unconventional, but always tries to present something wonderful.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is Gilliam as we know it: a patchy film, quick and chaotic, a bit troublesome to follow or to get the hang on, and filled to the brim with imagination. Occasionally it looks like Gilliam tries to tell more stories than the two hours permit, throwing in whatever came to his mind at the time. My guess is that this movie is Gilliam’s ode to storytelling, much like Big Fish was Tim Burton’s, but Gilliam’s is a far more trippy experience. To explain the story would take another page, and, on screen as well, remains a bit hard to digest.
In the end, this film will probably go down in history as “Heath Ledger’s last film”. He died before completing his scenes, and halfway in the movie his role is filled by no less than Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. This is done quite seamlessly as we jump from imaginary world to imaginary world. They all give great performances, as do all the members of Parnassus’s team. You will probably not be transported into a world of wonders, but if you like your films to be unpredictable, vivid and visionary as a feverish dream, the Imaginarium is waiting for you.
IMDB: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus