Friday, September 02, 2005

The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Praising a Terry Gilliam film for its visuals is praising a calculus student for his math skills -- you can do it, and most people do, but it seems like such an easy way out because you know he excels at that and what else can you show me please? And indeed, Gilliam conjures up some spectacular sights in this latest feature, the best probably being a disturbing bit involving a child and a horse (though the muck-with-eyes and the broken-mirror bits also impress). These sights, however, are oases of brilliance in a desert of incoherence and contrivance. The main culprit is weirdly ubiquitous hack-of-the-moment Ehren Kruger, whose screenplay here is a poorly-constructed hash of bad comedy, bad drama and bad dialogue. Gilliam isn't without blame, though. Given this subpar script, he distances himself from it by fussing over the visuals, ignoring things like pacing and effective performances. The result is a lumpy, shrill affair where over-the-top performers are constantly screaming at one another and nothing seems to carry any weight. (Peter Stormare, in particular, offends the ears with his far-too-broad Italian caricature. Stormare can either be the funniest overactor in the business or the most intolerable; guess who showed up here.) Seven years, and this is what we get? Yecch.

Grade: D+


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