Friday, November 13, 2009

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus


I am sure you have all heard of this film, it was in the middle of production when Heath Ledger passed away. The film's future remained in doubt without Heath but Terry Gilliam got himself a few replacements and completed the film. So how did the last film of Heath Ledger hold up? For this young lady, I thought it was fantastic!

Terry Gilliam is an unusual film maker, and if you look over his filmography, all his films are quite different. For me, he can be hit and miss. I have enjoyed some of his films and others I really couldn't get into. I don't think it is any secret that my favourite film of his is 12 Monkeys, and it is certainly one of his more darker and thought provoking films. He certainly isn't for everyone, and I am sure there are people out there who wont like this film.

After seeing the trailer to this, I had it on my radar, I thought it looked quite good and different. However after seeing it, it was not at all what I was expecting, and that is a good thing! It ended up being just so much more, and the way it unraveled was so good to see. It is one of the rare films I have really been surprised with this year.

So what is it about? To put it in simple terms, there is a travelling theatre company consisting of Dr Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole), Percy (Verne Troyer) and Anton (Andrew Garfield) who give their audience a lot more then they were expecting inside of the Imaginarium. Now that might have you some what confused or thinking, eh?? But it is better to keep it simple because the less you know the better! And where does Heath come in? He plays Tony, a man who joins their company.

The cast are all fantastic, Christopher Plummer is just amazing as Dr Parnassus and Gilliam really did find the right man for the job. He is always on the ball, and he really does disappear into the character. I loved him! Lily Cole is simply gorgeous and she was also right on the ball. She hit all the right notes as Valentina, not an easy role to tackle but she did it and did it well. Surprisingly Verne Troyer was quite good as Percy, he had a few off moments but for the most part I thought he was quite good. The role was well written and with the right direction he can act. Andrew Garfield was good as Anton, his character I found annoying at times but towards the second half as it got a bit more tackling I think he pulled it off. Tom Waits as Mr. Nick was just simply fantastic, who better to play this role? It surely had to be written for him because it was just the right fit. I am always happy to see Tom in film, but this just worked so perfectly, I loved him. Heath was good, there were some scenes he was spectacular and it is so sad to think this was his last performance, who knows how far he would have come if he was still with us. His opening scene will leave you a bit shocked, I had no idea how he would be introduced and it was just extremely sad. Now to where his replacements come in, some clever re-writes which ended up working perfectly have Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell play different sides to Tony. I think Johnny Depp perfectly channeled Heath with his performance and his scenes are extremely moving. I thought he was great. Jude Law was alright, his scenes were different and he wasn't really channeling the character of Tony or Heath but more being Jude Law. Colin Farrell faired better, his scenes were probably the most difficult to do as they come with a big reveal. He was channeling Johnny Depp as Heath, rather then Heath. He did well and I think with at least Johnny and Colin, he picked the right replacements.

Visually this film is stunning, that is something Gilliam knows how to do! His visuals, no matter what the setting are always fantastic. The Imaginarium looks and feels so fantastic, some scenes are just so beautiful I wanted to keep looking at them rather then progress with the film. There are certain scenes which stick out but I wont go into them because it will spoil it. But there is one towards the middle of the film in a Mall that is just really fantastic.

This is a film that basically places you right in, and you need to work out what is going on. No spoon feeding here, and I like films like this. I mean they don't always work but for me this really did. It is like a strange fairytale, and an adventure with meaning. I really enjoyed this film, and I felt it was one of Gilliams better efforts.

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