The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

PhotobucketPhotobucketElaborate entertainment from the mind of Terry Gilliam about the owner of a carnival side show who must collect 5 souls before the devil in a race against time, else he loses his first born.   Film vacillates between beautifully vivid set pieces and a frustratingly inconsistent narrative.  Careful examination of the plot will raise many questions that are never fully explained.  It all adds up to a very showy piece of entertainment that is mostly dazzling but rather incoherent.  This is especially true in the final act when everything kind of falls apart in a confusing mess.  It’s rather unfortunate because for most of the film, the surreal imagery is enough to sustain the film.  When the film was all over, I really didn’t understand what I had just seen, but I know I enjoyed watching it.


2 Responses to “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”

  1. magnolia12883 Says:

    I saw this yesterday (Jan. 8, 2010) as well and I too – like you – was perplexed (and not always in a stimulating way)… I don’t know why I go to Gilliam films thinking I’m going to see a coherent narrative and comprehensible sound mixing. Every time, invariably, the plot is a muddle and the sound design is worse – can anyone truly hear what someone is saying above the LOUD music, the sound effects and the various grotesqueries on the screen itself? As to the incoherence of the plot, I think part of this may (in this case) be due to the screenplay being “retooled” after Heath Ledger’s death to compensate for his loss, resulting in the casting of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as his “Imaginarium” selves… It’s not a bad movie, but I’d prefer to remember (and may find it impossible not to remember) Ledger as the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT, not in this film… Not bad but not a must-see precisely either. I think you technically liked it better than I, however.


    • I suppose I keep coming back to Terry Gilliam films in hopes of another Brazil, one of my all times faves.

      Everything you said is correct. The casting of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as his Imaginarium “identities” could have been a disastrous choice, but I was ok with it. Even though I can’t completely justify why, I still appreciate this hallucinatory dream of a film.


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