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"The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnussus" — A Bullz-Eye Movie Review

December 27, 2009


 A once influential theatrical artist with a flair for surreal provocation and a madcap sense of humor makes some questionable decisions and winds up in a world where, at least for the moment, no one much cares for his stories. Doe this remind us of anyone we know?

Well, ex-Monty Python animator and trouble-plagued big budget cult movie director Terry Gilliam has made no secret of the autobiographical nature of “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.” Between that, the tragic death of Heath Ledger midway through filming, and the numerous references to the grim reaper that fill this dark and occasionally comic fantasy, it’s kind of impossible not to think about the grim real world conditions of its making; not only did the production lose its star in the most painful way possible partway through filming, but producer William Vince also passed on from cancer during post-production, while Gilliam himself suffered serious injuries after being hit by a car. The writer-director emphasizes that the screenplay for “Parnassus” was not significantly rewritten after Ledger’s death, but in view of this strangely disjointed film, that brings up a lot more questions than it answers.


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