Monday, August 29, 2005

Gilliam's Grimm Brothers

I have a love/hate relationship with filmmaker Terry Gilliam. His acclaimed “Brazil” left me cold, earning a spot on my worst-movies-ever-made list. On the other hand, his “12 Monkeys” held me spellbound, and I think the quirky art work he created for the Monty Python television shows is pure genius. I also admire Gilliam for allowing a documentary to be made concerning the disasters he faced while trying to complete his film version of Don Quixote. The title of that wonderful documentary is “Lost in La Mancha.” If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check out the DVD.

“The Brothers Grimm,” Gilliam’s latest movie, falls somewhere in between “Brazil” and “12 Monkeys” on my personal rating scale. It boasts originality in terms of depicting the famous fairy tale writers as “ghostbuster”-like con men back in the mid-18th century, but falters in presentation of a cohesive plot and people we care about. Although Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, who play the Grimm siblings, are among my favorite actors, they spend most of their time here running around in a frenzy of overacting. They remind me of Abbott and Costello, only with two Costellos.

Despite a clever attempt to include characters from the Grimms' fairy tales (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel), “The Brothers Grimm” lacks two essential elements of good storytelling -- focus and heart.


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