Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus —Movie Review

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is weird, colorful and truly imaginative. Written by Charles McKeown and Terry Gilliam and directed by Gilliam, Imaginarium is not for everyone, but if you have an open mind for the odd, you’ll enjoy it.

Imaginarium is the story of traveling carnival–like psychic, Dr. Parnassus, played beautifully by Christopher Plummer and his relationships with daughter Valentina (Lily Cole), confidante Percy (Verne Troyer) and magician Anton (Andrew Garfield). Parnassus plays mind/mirror games with people which enables them to actually visit their imagination. Now Dr. Parnassus faces a problem. Centuries ago (yes, he’s that old) he made a deal with the Devil in the form of Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) involving his daughter and the Devil has come to collect. While traveling from one town to another and trying to figure out how to outwit the Devil, his company saves the life of hanging -by -his -neck, Tony (Heath Ledger). What follows is complicated to explain but fascinating to follow.

During the making of the movie, Heath Ledger died. Rather than recast and reshoot the entire film or scratch the film entirely, Gilliam decided to cast other actors in the role of Tony, each one having their own go with someone’s imagination. Somehow this works and it works seamlessly as played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. All actors are very strong, but Depp is the first new Tony we meet and at first one doesn’t even realize the change has been made, he’s that terrific. He’s not trying to be Heath Ledger, but he’s so good, it’s hard to remember that Ledger was in the film to begin with.

If you have a taste for something very unique and a desire to see special effects put to fascinating use, you’ll want to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

2 ½ nuggets out of 4

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