Skip to content

Terry Gilliam

The Brothers Grimm – Terry Gilliam (2005)

A couple of weeks ago I visited “Grimmwelt” (Grimm world, a museum dedicated to the brothers Grimm) in Kassel (Germany). There was a movie which was a compilation of fairy tales and I saw a scene with Monica Beluchi that this not look familiar. Then Netflix started to recommend this film. Nifty algorithms!

I do wonder -though- how I missed a Gilliam film. Perhaps I expected it to be too childish?

Just as the museum, the main focus of the film lays on the fairly tales that people remember the Grimm brothers for. But, just as in the museum, you also see some other sides of the brothers. In the museum more seriously so of course.

Not unexpectedly, but the story of the film is not very historical. The famous brothers do indeed collect stories, but they reenact them in order to make money out of them. Then they are led to a haunted forest where things are more real than they expected.

Gilliam wove different fairy tales into the story. Of course there is some humour and romance, but the film is not was weird as Gilliam can get.

Alright, but nothing more than that.

The Zero Theorem * Terry Gilliam (2013)

This wonderfully weird film has been on my watchlist for a while, but my DVD-rental kept sending me other titles. Here it is at last.

Qohen (no mistake about the name) is a black-dresser in an outrageously colourfull retro-future. He has an occupation solving riddles, but since his is socially inapt, he tries to quit his job or at least be allowed to work from his own house. His house is a massive former cloister by the way. Gilliam came up with all kinds of weird computers and strange futuristic ways of advertising. The film has a bit of a Jeunet-atmosphere, but not as dark. To stay with the director, think of “Tideland”.

Qohen seems to be successfull in his attempts when he gets a new job assigned that he can do in his house. At home he is visited by his odd manager, a youngster he met at his job and a foxy lady. The job is as hard as Qohen was predicted, driving him mad.

The title refers to the riddle that Qohen has to solve for “management” and the film makes a very amusing and odd film with good humour and wonderfull findings. Recommended!

Brazil * Terry Gilliam (1985)

The title of this film eludes me, but in a 1950’ies looking future, technology and bureaucracy reign supreme. Dreamer Sam Lowry accidentally becomes involved in the resistance movement. Gilliam created a magnificent (sur)realistic imaginary and dark world with great little jokes and weird characters. Things remind quite a bit of Jeunet. Sam’s government jobs are weird, but his dreams are even more so and when it comes to it, the real world is even weirder than his dreams. In brilliant scenes other government officials come to fix Sam’s heating system after the sought terrorist Harry Tuttle (Robert de Niro in probably his strangest part ever) has already done so. A nice stack of other famous actors pass by. The first 75% is great, in the last part things become a bit less interesting and the fact that the DVD started to malfunction did not help. In general this is a very good film, somewhere between “Dark City” and Jeunet. When you like the weirder stuff, be sure not to miss this one.

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas * Terry Gilliam (1998)

I am trying to catch up with some classics that I missed or forgot that I saw. This Gilliam sure deserves a place in that line. The title of this film sounds so familiar that I always thought that it was a very famous or popular film, but now that I saw it, I can hardly imagine that. Johhny Depp is brilliant as Raoul Duke who is on heavy drugs the entire film. Being his own voice-over the film contains brilliant dialogues and monologues of a drug-infused mind. A few hallucinations, but mostly the socially disturbed couple (Depp and his lawyer) travelling to Las Vegas as (bogus) journalists booking expensive hotelrooms and wrecking them in their frenzy. Completely hilarious!

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus * Terry Gilliam (2009)

  • fantasy

Not too original anymore, but also Terry Gilliam worked out a “Being John Malkovich” like story, but then in the Gilliam style. This means colourfull weird animations, strange characters and original fantasy. A travelling theatre offers its visitors a peek into their imagination. The story is very nice, the result quite original and very enjoyable. The special effects are not always convincing, but think about an “Alice In Wonderland” with a modern twist in the story.

Tideland * Terry Gilliam * 2005

Gilliam may be best known for having been part of Monty Python, but as a film director he has a varried CV; “Brazil”, “Baron van Munchausen”, “Twelve Monkies”, just to name a few titles. With “Tideland” Gilliam has made a fantasy drama. The 12 year old Jodelle Ferland carries the entire film (and she has an impressive list of films on her name already) as a young girl who is dependent all on her own with her shit-for-brains parents. She flees into a fantasy world, but the real world is as weird are her fantasies. This may sound like a children’s film, but it definately is not! The story is harsch, some scenes close to shocking and the characters offensive. The film is shot on great locations, but there isn’t too much to the story. The film is nice, but nothing really special. Nice to see some time though.