- Christopher Plummer as the titular character in Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Terry Gilliam is one of the most unique directors working today. Alas, just because he has been working today, doesn’t mean there has been much fruit as of late. Mostly, it’s not his fault. The infamous The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp crumbled under events outside of his control. His follow-up film The Brothers Grimm was entertaining enough but it was hacked and hampered by the Weinstein Bros and his next venture, Tideland, felt like the artist in meltdown mode. He was cramming every irreverant idea he had into a thin little whisp of a movie and without any sort of constraints it exploded into delirious, over-cooked pieces.
Then, he began work on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, an all-out folk fantasy with a great cast; Christopher Plummer, Heath Ledger, and Tom Waits. It sounded like the kind of great stuff that had made me fall in love with the man’s work originally. I still consider his trilogy of Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen to be some of the finest examples of fantasy filmmaking ever concieved.
When Ledger died, it seemed like the curse of Gilliam had struck again. But, remarkably, Parnassus was raised from the ashes like a Pheonix when Depp, Law and Farrell came alongside Gilliam and allowed him to finish making the movie by playing different facets of Ledger’s character, and donating all of their salary to Heath’s family in the process.
So this week, the amazing happened. A new Gilliam film premiered at Cannes. And so far, the word is great. Right now the idea of a great new Gilliam movie is a bit overwhelming. All of the current reviews, including ones written prior to Cannes, are available below. I’ll keep updating as they come in.
Variety’s Todd McCarthy gives Gilliam his due HERE.
Kenneth Turan applauds Parnassus and Gilliam’s gumption HERE.
Aint It Cool News’ Harry Knowles cheerfully slobbers over it HERE.
Another AICN alumn, Quint, calls Parnassus “unadulterated Gilliam” HERE.