Written by Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard & Charles McKeown; Directed by Terry Gilliam
Will Most Likely Contain Spoilers!!!
Wow, wtf? Typical Terry Gilliam I suppose. Look, it’s just not my bag. Holy Grail is the only of his that I’ve seen that I can stand and that statement holds true after this one as well. Does it fit in well with the marathon idea? Absolutely it does. It has the oddball, confusion plot and it takes place in another world that is completely unfamiliar and strange. Gilliam is notorious for off the wall and the sets and world he creates here are so ridiculous. This is a personal thing, I understand, but I don’t like it, I don’t like the style of Gilliam and the way he paints a picture. He is very similar to Tim Burton that way. I don’t like him either, though I wouldn’t say I hate every film he has done. Like Holy Grail, Burton at least has Big Fish (and Pee-Wee for that matter).
Okay, so let’s see if I can make sense of this. Average guy gets wrongfully arrested, dies latter.The guy they were supposed to arrest was a rogue heating engineer(De Niro). Yea, I said rogue heating engineer. You see, the world that Sam Lowrey(Johnathan Pryce) lives in is some future world full of organization and paperwork that is so bland and uniform, except maybe for Jill Layton(Kim Griest), the secret love of Sam’s life. When they go to a restaurant each item on the menu has a number and in order to get it the customer must actually say the number. And while at the restaurant an explosion takes place and they just ignore it completely, letting the firemen and others to tend to it. It is so bad in fact that Sam goes so far as to tell his mother and her friends that he doesn’t have dreams and aspirations.
The film is interrupted by Sam’s placid dreams/fantasies of Jill. He is always chasing her and trying to save her from some monster. I think this is just Sam trying to break from the order of the world around him and him pursuing love in the form of Jill. A noble goal and a noble theme, though I don’t think it was handled the best way I would have liked.
Between the sets and the camerawork, Gilliam actually manages a few pretty nice shots and atmospheres, but it isn’t consistent and most of the time I was turned off by the futuristic style world. The score is good, especially the main theme. The acting? Well I have never liked Pryce, but the others were good. I was amazed at how little De Niro was on screen. Though for most of the film I was unimpressed, I did think the last 20 minutes or so were pretty good. The comedy was alright too. It didn’t really work for me overall, but there was a decent laugh or two here and there. I did rather enjoy one poster in the background at the parcel plant that said, “Mind that parcel. Eagle eyes can save a life.” So strange and I guess that’s why it fits so well into this marathon. But it hardly accomplished it’s mission here, so I will move on to bigger and better things hopefully and enjoy the Coen Brothers and John Tuturro a little bit more. There is probably a deeper meaning and had I liked what the film was doing I may have been able to pay closer attention and figure that out and maybe enjoy it a bit more, but the style was just too off-putting for me.