The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS tells the story of Dr. Parnassus and his wondrous ‘Imaginarium', a travelling show where audience members are given an irresistible choice between light and happiness or gloom and trouble. Despite being blessed with the gift of steering the imaginations of others, Doctor Parnassus has a dark curse. An incorrigible gambler, thousands of years ago he bet with the devil, Mr. Nick, and won immortality. But when he meets the love of his life, Dr. Parnassus brokers another deal, trading immortality for youth, and giving his daughter away on her sixteenth birthday to the devil incarnate, Mr Nick. 2.5 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Director Terry Gilliam
Cast Heath Ledger, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer Johnny Depp, Lily Cole
Studio Lionsgate Films UK
Release Date October 2009
Running Time 123 mins
 

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS tells the story of Dr. Parnassus and his wondrous ‘Imaginarium', a travelling show where audience members are given an irresistible choice between light and happiness or gloom and trouble. Despite being blessed with the gift of steering the imaginations of others, Doctor Parnassus has a dark curse. An incorrigible gambler, thousands of years ago he bet with the devil, Mr. Nick, and won immortality. But when he meets the love of his life, Dr. Parnassus brokers another deal, trading immortality for youth, and giving his daughter away on her sixteenth birthday to the devil incarnate, Mr Nick.

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Reviews

Channel 4 Film

Catherine Bray

A eulogy, a polemic, an intriguing mess: Dr Parnassus is ultimately more worth your time than many a polished creation, and it's a must for Terry Gilliam completists, but this time out he delivers a feast for the eyes more than he satisfies intellectually.

16/02/2010

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Empire Magazine

Olly Richards

There are thrilling flashes of Gilliam getting back to top form here. A scrappy movie with more ideas than it can control, but one born out of a passion and determination that are wholly infectious.

16/02/2010

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The Mirror

Mark Adams

The result is a film that confuses and impresses with its rich and wild imagination. It's one which bursts with moments of glorious excess and spellbinding beauty, but which also lapses into confused indulgence as Gilliam tries to weave the elements together.

11/10/2009

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The Observer

Philip French

After that, the movie becomes somewhat intellectually mushy and sentimental, though never less than visually impressive.

18/10/2009

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Ultimately though, the problems with the film (several grating performances, creaky plotting and an overwhelming air of fakery) are outweighed by its strengths. It’s mad and beautiful and bewildering; it represents a unique vision; it’s a peek into the treasure trove of oddities that is Terry Gilliam’s head.

16/10/2009

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Total Film

Kevin Harley

Gilliam’s plotting is typically ramshackle, but the fantasy visions are wondrous. Top job of rescuing Heath Ledger’s cruelly curtailed contribution, too.

21/09/2009

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Variety

Todd McCarthy

Especially considering the trauma and difficulties stemming from Heath Ledger's death during production and the fact that Terry Gilliam hadn't directed a good picture in more than a decade, the helmer has made a pretty good thing out of a very bad situation in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." Synthesizing elements from several of his previous pictures, including "Time Bandits," "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" and "The Fisher King," the often overreaching director addresses a mad hatter of a story with the expected visual panache and what is, for him, considerable discipline.

22/05/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

Terry Gilliam's new film, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, may not be one of his best, but it's certainly one of his most Gilliamesque. Overflowing with puppet theatres and conjuring tricks, ball-gowned beauties and very short men, fabulous myth and sordid reality, it's like a bulging scrapbook of the director's pre-occupations: it's very Terry, even if it's not very good.

18/10/2009

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

But there’s no escaping the fact that the completed film, though lovingly made, is something of a mess. Set in a stark contemporary London, it’s a patronising elegy for the death of the public imagination, as personified by Christopher Plummer’s Parnassus, a travelling teller of tall tales whose audience is progressively shrinking.

15/10/2009

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

It asks us to be moved by the troubled relationship of the doctor and his daughter, and the romantic frustrations of Anton’s unrequited love for her. But the film has no emotional resonance, no story or characters we can really care about. It’s all dazzle and no drama.

18/10/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

Still, when Depp muses about stars who have died before their time, as photos of James Dean, Rudolph Valentino and Diana, Princess of Wales float down a slate-coloured river, it’s hard not to detect a whiff of forced memorialising on Gilliam’s part. “They are forever young, they won’t grow old.” Then the river rears up and becomes a serpent with Waits’s head on the end. There’s a difference between pondering sad, uncanny ironies and being force-fed them – it’s sadder still that Ledger had to be enshrined like this.

15/10/2009

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Some of us think Gilliam should be forced to sit in a bare room for a year directing Samuel Beckett plays. Instead, in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus– an overdone blow-out of a modern fairy tale – he roams about like a starving man at a buffet, scooping up helpings of King Lear, The Tempest, Dr Faustus and Alice through the Looking Glass.

14/10/2009

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Despite the brilliant moments, there is a fundamental lack of dramatic traction here and the surrealism creates an inert flabbiness in its already chaotic story. It seems to be addressed to an undemanding audience of children, or maybe inner-children. There's nothing wrong with that, but the wacky shapes and contours of Gilliam's imaginary world appear to have no real edge to them.

15/10/2009

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

It says something for the director – I'm not sure what precisely – that stars of Ledger's calibre want to work with him. But then Terry Gilliam's whole career seems mysterious to me. Nobody would doubt that he's possessed of an extravagant imagination. It's just unfortunate that what he imagines is very, very boring.

16/10/2009

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