The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2010)


An amnesiac with a shady past falls in with a troupe of actors who are engaged in a wager for souls with Lucifer.

I have long been a fan of Terry Gilliam’s work and even his weaker films up to this point can be regarded as heroic failures that still have much of merit contained within. Up to this point. I’m loathe to say it because of my loyalty to him and respect for Heath Ledger’s memory, but this film is an absolute disaster. It’s an incoherent mess of weak ideas that lurches from one ill-conceived vignette to the next and is populated by utterly unlikeable characters; Andrew Garfield in particular was so insufferably irritating I ended up wanting to gnaw his vocal cords from his throat with my bare teeth. Gilliam’s work has always been identified with his wicked and surreal sense of humour and ramshackle, almost home-made visual effects that have huge idiosyncratic charm, but here there are no laughs whatsoever and the scenes inside the imaginarium are represented by soulless, tacky CGI which seems the complete antithesis of everything a Terry Gilliam film is supposed to be about. The star names attached to the project are little more than cameo roles and by the time I was witnessing Lily Cole running down a corridor batting away shards of mirrors leading to a tango with Tom Waites my boredom had transformed into total incredulity. In fact her easiness on the eye is one of the very few redeeming features of this disjointed mess but even that is marred by the fact that she is playing a 15 year old, which transforms any romantic interest into Gary Glitter creepiness.

I’m sure fans of the ex-Python will refuse to believe that this film is as bad as I say it is so this is wasted breath, but please do yourselves a favour and give this one a miss.



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