THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR PARNASSUS (2009)


 (1-10-10) Greetings again from the darkness. Mention to me that Terry Gilliam has a new film and I can’t help but chuckle and wonder what his mind has dreamed up this time. His past films include Brazil, The Fisher King and the underrated Adventures of Baron Munchausen. One thing I know, he will challenge beliefs and remind me that my imagination pales in comparison to the master.

Even Mr. Gilliam was challenged this time as filming was halted due to the death of the imensely talented Heath Ledger. A very imaginative tweak to the script allows Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrell to sub in so the film could be completed. The solution is a bit odd and disjointed, but of course, fits right in with the rest of the film.

Christopher Plummer, smack in the middle of a career re-birth, plays Dr. Parnassus, the spiritual leader of an oddball traveling sideshow. Dr. P’s mirrored portal “invites” guests to discover their own imagination in a wicked choice of morality and greed … a twisted good vs. evil that exists in us all. Of course, all this comes after Plummer struck a deal with the devil (terrific Tom Waits) over his immortality and the soul of his first born child … played well by Lily Cole.

Plenty can be interpreted from all that occurs inside the mirror. It is a fascinating world and has some touches of Mr. Gilliam’s Monty Python roots. Don’t expect a traditional Hollywood film, but enjoy the visuals and the many messages offered … even if some are presented in a somewhat messy format.

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