The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Posted December 23, 2009 in Film

Heath Ledger’s final gift is this gorgeous hand-crafted drama where he out-acts the three major actors of our day. What’s astonishing in Terry Gilliam’s latest—besides the visuals—is that great thespians Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and even Jude Law (if he’s in the mood) all take a crack at completing Ledger’s role and not one of them pops off the screen with his intensity. The plot, re-jiggered to fit the new cast, follows a centuries-old traveling circus run by an ageless man (Christopher Plummer), his doll-like daughter (Lily Cole), his manager (Verne Troyer) and his assistant (Andrew Garfield). Their show is hopelessly out of date and the yobs heckle Plummer every night, unaware that through his mirror door, he has the key to giving them their dreams . . . for a price. They’re in a race to collect more souls than the devil (Tom Waits) who aims to collect Cole’s if he wins; in desperation, Plummer signs on an amnesiac (Ledger et al) with the power to convince people to do his will. What follows is whimsy perked up with some of the worst CGI in years—it’s so bad, it feels like a conscious aesthetic, like cheap graphics are the new stop-motion animation. Imaginarium is a mess, but more of it works than doesn’t. If he had lived, Ledger would be glad to see his name in the credits.


Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.