The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Friday, May 17 - Saturday, May 18, 2013
“Knowing the inside story of Terry Gilliam’s history of failed or flawed projects just makes his latest, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, all the more heartbreaking. Heath Ledger’s death during filming was yet another painful setback in a career full of them, but Gilliam worked around it, bringing in a plot device that lets Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law sub in for Ledger in a series of fantasy sequences…
“Christopher Plummer stars as Doctor Parnassus, an aging, drunken mountebank traveling from town to town in a rickety cart with his daughter (Lily Cole) and two costumed assistants; in each new place, he offers the locals entrance to a magical world shaped by his imagination, where they face a moral choice for enlightenment or depravity, greed or sacrifice, good or evil. Problem is, in this debased age, most people aren’t even interested in the choice; they laughingly dismiss him and his tatty box of threadbare wonders. That changes when Plummer and his retinue meet Ledger, who for his own reasons attempts to help modernize their routine and make them accessible to the contemporary world, which gives Plummer a leg up on a longstanding rivalry with the devil, as played by a capering Tom Waits.
“There’s a lot of Gilliam in Plummer’s tragically ineffectual character, a man with a ramshackle aesthetic and a hopelessly square message about the magical powers of imagination. Gilliam has been pushing this aesthetic and message since his Monty Python movie days, and IMAGINARIUM is yet another film in the same vein, with a smart concept, gorgeous cinematography, some terrific performances (particularly from the ever-reliable Waits) and tons of energy… In a real sort of way, Gilliam is Parnassus, carrying his tatterdemalion show forward from year to year and trying to get people to pay attention, and the mingled sense of bitterness and hope in his story makes this whole crazed fantasy into something far more real.” – The Onion A.V. ClubPG-13, 122 Minutes