The Fisher King (1991)


An ex-shock jock DJ whose flippant tirade caused a mentally unstable listener to go postal finds a chance at redemption when he encounters a delusional tramp who was one of the victims.

Probably as a result of his problems in getting the bizarre and brilliant Brazil released by the conservative studio system, Terry Gilliam produced this, his most mainstream film to date; but it’s only “mainstream” by his own eccentric standards. The Fisher King could be categorized as a romantic comedy, but probably the darkest, most offbeat one you’re ever likely to see. Jeff Bridges produces yet another brilliant performance as the suicidally disturbed DJ and although Williams is occasionally his usual overbearing self, they do share some magical on screen moments together. I must also mention Mercedes Ruehl who is adorable in a totally naturalistic way and all the funniest moments involve her in some way or another, and there are a lot of laughs in the second act considering the darkness of the subject matter. It does on occasion feel a little incoherent, lurching between grim psychology and light-hearted comedy as it does and it is a little over long. But it is littered with fantastic moments – look out for an uncredited Tom Waites – and blends social commentary, humour and character study in a very interesting way.

Fans of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Amelie should definitely give it a try.


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