Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a traveling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr Nick. Valentina is now rapidly approaching this ‘coming of age’ milestone and Dr Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr Parnassus promises his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles – and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all…
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The cast includes: Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Tom Waits, Peter Stormare, Andrew Garfield, Verne Troyer, and Paloma Faith
“This is Terry Gilliam’s dark masterpiece. It’s a brilliant film–there are fabulous, fantastic, surrealistic visual effects; gorgeous cinematography; and stunning performances by an amazing cast of consisting of both famous stars and lesser known (but excellent) actors. It’s in the vein of the great European surrealistic movies like Fellini’s “8 1/2” or “Satyricon”. But–if you’re not open to a mind bending, almost psychedelic fantasy and a plot with strange twists and turns that can be challenging to follow, this won’t be for you. The cast is terrific–I mean, Tom Waits plays “Old Scratch”–how can you lose? Christopher Plummer is excellent in the title role; Heath Ledger’s last performance is stellar. Lily Cole, Johnny Depp, Andrew Garfield, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, and Colin Farrell are also very good. The costumes and sets are gorgeous, though often in a dark and grungy way. By the way–it also ends up being a story about ethical choices in life and how some people are very misleading. Probably not material for a box office hit, sadly, as this film is probably too unusual for most Americans.”
Did You Know?
Heath Ledger’s last movie project. It is dedicated to him.
After the death of Heath Ledger, production was shut down for a few months. Then it was re-started when Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell agreed to complete Ledger’s role. The film’s fantasy premise, and some clever rewrites, let the actors play a man whose appearance changes as he travels between imaginary worlds.
The film contains various references to the classic staging of Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting For Godot including Tom Waits’ black suit and bowler hat and Jude Law dragging a rope noosed around his neck (as does Lucky in the play).
One of Tom Waits’ most infamous music videos is for his song “God’s Away On Business“. Waits plays the Devil in this film. In both this film and in the music video, he makes use of a black umbrella.