‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ a colourful, brooding fantasy

Much is already known about this film: the death of Ledger before it was completed and the use of Depp, Farrell and Law as his stand-ins. That it is also helmed by the always inventive Gilliam tells us what to expect.

Director: Terry Gilliam

Cast: Heath Ledger, Lily Cole, Tom Waites, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law

Cert: 12

Much is already known about this film: the death of Ledger before it was completed and the use of Depp, Farrell and Law as his stand-ins. That it is also helmed by the always inventive Gilliam tells us what to expect.

It is a colourful, brooding fantasy full of strange characters doing even stranger things … all quite wonderful in that predictable Gilliam way for this is his film, more than that of any of his performers, his fantasy, his imagination, his morality tale.

The Doctor (Plummer) entertains patrons of his travelling show by passing them through a magic mirror to a world where they imagine whatever they wish to.

But the Doctor has made a pact with the Devil (Waites), immortality for his daughter (Cole) when she turns 16.

And into this weird world comes Ledger, a man with his own troubled past.

And does the imaginative use of Depp, Farrell and Law work? Yes, because Gilliam cleverly allows them to be themselves whenever Ledger steps through the mirror.

It is a film that doesn’t let up on its feast of curiosities, as fans of Gilliam have come to expect.

Star Rating: 4/5

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