The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)


Starring: Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer

A new Terry Gilliam film is always an event. He is much loved by the British public since the days of Monty Python. His work as a movie director has been varied and fraught with accidents, mishaps and general bad luck – so much so, that he is known as a jinxed director. I’m not sure if that is true but he has had awful bad luck. Not least of all with this new film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus where as you will probably be aware the leading actor Heath Leger died half-way through the filming. Ledgers best films to date have been Brokeback Mountain and his amazing performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, a real shame there will be no more.

Gilliam deserves much respect for his creativity but his films have been pretty hit and miss in the past. There have been some true classics such as Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and the Monty Python films (The Life of Brian DVD still remains one of the finest in my collection) but there have been some stinkers like The Brothers Grimm, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Time Bandits. Sometimes he can be just a little bit too fantastical… juts my opinion, of course.

So, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, strange title, what’s is all about? It is set in present day – a 1000 year old man, Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a travelling theatre troupe thats gives audiences a chance to go beyond the ordinary and step into magical realms via a magic mirror. The good doctor has previously done a deal with the devil who now returns and kidnaps his daughter. The troupe joined by Tony, played by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law travel parallel and mystical worlds to rescue her. Plenty of CGI and plenty of magic make for an entertaining film but it won’t be to everyones taste.

Gilliam has described the film as both tragical and magical. No matter how well the film is received – it will always be about Ledgers performance in his last film of such a fledgling career. We will never know how good he was destined to be… the cold hard truth, there will never be a new Heath Ledger film.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown

About The Author

Editor, Design Manager

Pete graduated from University in 2003 with a degree in Digital Art. With a real interest in all the creative arts, he then went on to set up his own digital design agency, Elastic Eye - specialising in all forms of graphic design, web design, photography and MoreEyes VJ collective - specialising in VJ'ing, projection mapping and audio-visual performance.

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