There really is no other director out there like Terry Gilliam, I don’t know what it is but no one comes close to making films that look like his, probably why he is one of the greats. The closest ones I can think of are Dark City (but that movie is too serious for Gilliam) and The Hudsucker Proxy. Gilliam movies play out like zany oddball fantasy dramatic comedies. But they are thinkers, and I think that is what polarizes him the most. Most people do not like to think when they are seeing a fantasy film (Avatar) they like the odd world laid out for them so things are easier to understand. That is what I love about Gilliam’s films, you have to fill in some of the blanks yourself and you have to pay attention, also some of the blanks just don’t need to be filled it.
I think that this movie is probably the most surreal film he’s made, mainly because it seems to take place in NOW London. Yet all the characters seem to be from a different time/place. The basic plot is that Dr. Parnassus (played aptly by Christopher Plummer, who is the best actor in the movie) was a delusional monk who gets his eyes opened by Mr. Nick (the Devil played with a lot of fun by Tom Waits). The Devil makes a deal with Dr. Parnassus in order to make him immortal. The Devil being who he is, keeps making deals with Dr. Parnassus until the Dr. has really got himself screwed and is about to lose his daughter.
During this time of immortality the Dr. travels around with his band of merry actors (Verne Troyer in a non sight gag role and Andrew Garfield, desperate for the Dr’s attention) now they may or may not be immortal as well (again it’s a blank that probably doesn’t need to be filled). Along with them is the Dr.’s about to turn 16 daughter. Once she turns 16 she belongs to the Devil though. They travel about London’s night life in hopes of pulling in drunks for their Imaginarium.
The Imaginarium is the place were people can live out their fantasy beyond their wildest fantasy’s, and while in the trailer the effects looked sort of hokey and lame they really worked in the movie.
Along their travels they run into the hanging off a bridge but not dead Tony (Heath Leger). From
here the movie really takes off. The Dr. manages to make another deal with Mr. Nick in that if he can save five souls before he takes five souls then he can keep his daughter. Now with the help of the charismatic Tony character who has a shady past (again blank to be filled in on your own with a little help), the rest of the movie is about that.
I’m not going to get into the ending of this movie, mainly because I’m not 100% sure about it. I got it and understood the conclusion, but I’m not positive on how it happened. And should be seen on your own if you are interested.
The best thing I can say about this film is that is it good Gilliam, so if you like Gilliam you will enjoy this. If you don’t like Gilliam, this isn’t going to convert you. It’s a mad mad zany mind of his and we only ever get to see a glimpse of it, so he always makes for interesting movies, even his bad ones. I like that this film turned out so well, makes for a fitting end for the interesting career of Heath Ledger.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is playing at AMC Quail Springs Mall.
For a different take on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus:
- Check out the Cinematropolis review HERE.
- Check out my longer review HERE.
STILL IN THEATERS
- Click HERE for my review of The Lovely Bones
- Click HERE for my review of Daybreakers
- Click HERE for my review of Up In The Air
- Click HERE for my review of The Road
- Click HERE for my review of Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day
NOW ON DVD:
- Click HERE for my review of Big Fan
- Click HERE for my review of World’s Greatest Dad