Got out to see Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus last weekend -- y'know, the last flick that Heath Ledger, dreamboat of bad Shakespeare remakes and inappropriately sexy terror of Gotham, worked on? Which Gilliam got three of Ledger's actor friends (Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, a telescoping progression of talent and yum) to finish in Ledger's stead?
Gilliam is my very favorite director whose films I frequently fall asleep during, and I would've wanted to see Imaginarium for any and all of the actors attached, so, y'know, it would've had to have been something just shockingly terrible for me to have disliked it -- but really and truly, I loved it. It was the most terrifically Pythonesque thing I've seen from Gilliam since possibly Baron von Munchausen, surreal and dead-serious silly, with his signature rambling narrative and cartoonishly dreamlike landscapes, inhabitants, and objects. It's not altogether a pleasant dream -- in parts it's quite upsetting, especially on reflection of Ledger's death -- but I love it all the more for its deep, dark ripples. Because it's a film about people -- about their desires and deeds and efforts and beliefs and souls -- and you can't do that without a good measure of darkness. And, like all my favorite stories, in its chewy center it's all about storytelling.
Also, it's got my absolute favorite casting of the Devil ever. And a heart-lockingly lovely heroine wearing costumes that I would fight you for.
If you have three hours (plus maybe a couple for mental recovery) and you want to be transported, you should go see it. And you should avoid reading anything about the plot if you can. Letting Gilliam unhurriedly unfurl the story for you is half the fun.