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Vince Takes on The Brothers Grimm

Published August 29, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of Dimension
The Brothers Grimm The Brothers Grimm
The jilted lover; we've all been one at some point. Nothing hurts more than being hurt or rejected by someone we love.

It often drives us to do things (often stupid) that we know we'll regret later on. You can tell director Terry Gilliam's (12 Monkeys, Monty Python and the Holy Grail) been hurt very bad because his latest film, The Brothers Grimm, can only be looked at as one of those stupid mistakes jilted lovers make in order to get back at the ones they loved.

The Brothers Grimm Movie Review

Terry Gilliam is one of those directors that has such a unique style, you could spot a Gilliam film the moment the first frame comes on screen. After getting his start with the comedy group Monty Python, Gilliam came into his own as a director in the early 80's with films like Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Each film delivered Gilliam's vision with a mixture of political satire, comedy and a thrilling fantasy ride that are both surreal and complex. After teaming up with Johnny Depp in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Gilliam disappeared. Details were very sketchy, but news came out that he was re-teaming with Depp again to make what would be the project he had always dreamed of making, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Little did Gilliam know that his dream project would turn out to be his worst nightmare. Freakish storms, a severe back injury to Depp and budget problems forced the studio to shut down production and deny Gilliam the chance to make a project he loved very much.

After being spurned by the studio, Gilliam made a hasty decision and from out of nowhere announced his next project would be a take on famous storytellers, The Brothers Grimm. The film would tell the story of brothers Jacob (Heath Ledger) and Wilhelm's (Matt Damon) transformation from con artists to heroes as the fairy tales they used to con people with turn out to be real. This looked to be the perfect film for Gilliam's style and had it been made during a time when his head was a bit clearer it probably could have been. Instead we get a film that looks like there was little effort put into it and can be filed away as one of Gilliam's worst films ever.

The Brothers Grimm Ledger and Damon team for The Brothers Grimm
I can't help but look at The Brother's Grimm as being Gilliam's "other woman". Usually one of the stupidest mistakes people make after being jilted by their significant other is jumping in to the first relationship that comes their way in order to forget. Sure we like the person, but the whole time we are with them all we can do is think about the person we really love. Watching The Brothers Grimm, it was fairly obvious that while Gilliam was into the project, his mind was probably thinking about The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

The Brothers Grimm moves at a snail's pace and can get incredibly confusing at times. The film lacks any type of cohesiveness and often feels like large chunks have been cut out in order to get in at less than 2 hours. Because of these possible chunks of story being cut out the pacing of the film is seriously damaged. The film takes forever to get to the point and when it does it fails to take off on the rollercoaster ride that is a trademark with previous Gilliam films. The unique visual style and flair that is associated with Gilliam is there, but is very uninteresting and the lack of quality in special effects makes it look cheap and second rate. Like the jilted lover theory, Gilliam's mind was obviously somewhere else cause if you've seen any of his previous films you would know the guy is such a perfectionist he wouldn't let these things affect his film. This is only the second time in over 10 years that Gilliam has worked from someone else's script, but unlike the superb 12 Monkeys, The Brothers Grimm just feels like Gilliam had no connection with the characters or the story and just went through the motions all the way up to the rushed and generic fairy tale ending. Sure, The Brothers Grimm is supposed to have been similar to the fairy tales, but instead of getting that feeling of watching a fairy tale I felt more like was watching a TV movie by some amateur director. Both Matt Damon and Heath Ledger give their best and are surprisingly entertaining, but with an uninterested director, the rest of the production fails to capitalize on their performance.

The Brothers Grimm should be a message to any established director looking to do something to pass the time by because the project they really want to do had some complications. If you're hearts not in it, it would be best for you and your fans to stay away until you can focus your entire attention on it. Due to Terry Gilliam's lack of interest this film could've been so much more, but in the end winds up being a lackluster effort from a director known to amaze us with his energy and unique offbeat style.


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Vince Palomarez
Sources: Images property of Dimension

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