31 May 2010

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Dr. Parnassus had made a deal with the devil. Many deals actually. He's spent a lifetime making them as it's the devil's favorite pastime, making bets with Dr. Parnassus. The Doctor's got plenty of time to make bets / deals with the devil given that one of them included the good doctor becoming immortal. But of course when you play such games, eventually you'll get burned. And that is what this movie is about.

Dr. Parnassus and his traveling side show (which consists of the doctor, Valentina - the doctor's daughter, Anton - the young man who loves Valentina, and Percy - the doctor's sidekick) is being followed by Mr. Nick (the devil) as time is just about up on one very particular debt. Oh, and they find a man hanging by a noose from a bridge, nearly dead, unable to remember a thing. Is he connected to Mr. Nick? Will the doctor bother telling his daughter how she plays into this deal? Can the doctor win? Does the devil even want to win or does he actually enjoy losing to the doctor? How does the doctor's mirror play into all of this? Does Tony (the hanging man) really forget who he is or is he playing them all for fools? They have a lot to deal with and a short time to face it all.

It's a fun fantasy. Visually stunning. Yes Heath Ledger died during the filming of this movie. It's a tragedy we're all aware of. I went into this movie knowing of that, but not knowing just how much or little of his role he'd finished, only knowing that other actors stepped up to fill the void. Obviously we'd all prefer that he'd been around to finish this and many more films, but, the way they completed the role actually worked out rather well and he's actually in more of the film than I was expecting. Very well done.

I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt at 5 stars as I did love it. It's probably more the 4 3/4 stars as the story could have been tightened up just a wee bit here and there. But compared to a lot of what is out there nowadays it's so much more deserving of the 5. In fact in this day and age where it feels like virtually every other movie centers around an animated talking dog, I'm really surprised that this wasn't promoted more than it was.



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