7 June 2010


The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus – Terry Gilliam

I wanted to put a title that summed up this film. I thought for a long time about it, i even delayed myself writing it. I wanted it to sink in, to slowly bubble in my subconscious and that when i came to writing the review, i could eloquently place the right words in a sentence that described Terry Gilliam’s latest feature, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. And after a long time of thinking, of just sitting at my desk, my computer next to my fingertips, i still couldn’t think of the right thing to say. Only three words kept coming to mind and i knew i could never use them. It’s not proper reviewing, it’s not professional, but seeing as this is a blog online, created by a university student, being read mostly by students, i must use these three words: WHAT. THE. FUCK. Throughout the film, that’s the three words that kept coming to mind.

Now, i get film, i get some parts of the surreal, the mind boggling, the pieces that just don’t make sense and are meant to be like that. Sometimes i like that, but most of the time, i just want to be entertained, i want to be switched off. It’s like watching a TV show, listening to music or going to the theatre. It’s entertainment. It’s meant to take me to places i have never been or put me into universes that i want to be a part of. But this, it just down righted confused me. I get the plot, where Doctor Parnassus has made a deal with the devil to capture souls and if he hasn’t collected enough by his daughters 18th, she will become Lucifer’s new slave. Doctor Parnassus uses his travelling shows to tempt people into his “universes” where he tests them and makes them better people, seeing their true happiness. And after finding Tony, the hanging man, they use his charm to lure more souls. That’s the basic premise, but still, I’m fucking confused.

Maybe you’ll have better luck that me watching this. Maybe you’ve watched Gilliam pieces before and just are used to his style, to the way the audience are meant to be challenged and bemused. But me, I’ll stick to Die Hard, to Star Wars and to superhero films. Because that’s what i like and used to. But I’m sure it will make you think, but you got to stick through it. You got to stick with it till the end, don’t be put off by the strange pacing or the sometimes wooden acting. Just try it out.


Simon Childs

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