The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)


Imagine the standard paragraph here, the one others are writing about Gilliam’s grand ambition but lack of execution.

The man made a very bad career decision, to try to map his very particular and limited imagination into film. He has two notions only. One is dear to my heart: the idea of an inner story where the causal nesting of folds is questioned.

This is the future of mainstream narrative. He is right on the money here, and so were some of his Python buddies. Clever writers and filmmakers will lead us into new spaces with this.

His other notion is a very specific and limited set of images. It is like limiting Shakespeare to a vocabulary of 2,000 words. I saw these almost 40 years ago, and thought them — well, lacking in the three things he chooses to be measured by: they are not clever, they do not connect with important things in our lives, and more — much, much more disastrously, the transitions are not engineered. There is no narrative. Sure, there is a story in which the world of the images exists, but the world of the images has no narrative. It is as if they were filler, which is just the role Gilliam played for Monty Python.

The girl here — a former model who exploited a fashion trend in post heroin awkwardness, is pretty good. Sadly, she is better than Heath and all the guys who play him. She and Plummer are allowed to use their bodies, and he is limited to internal gathering.

Posted in 2010

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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