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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: how not to be seen

I love Terry Gilliam. From my review of The Brothers Grimm:

The thing I really love about Terry Gilliam is how fearless he is. His movies are glorious hodgepodges of everything that fascinates and scares him, and he just keeps cramming anxieties and audacities and myths and symbols and jokes and tassels and cherries on top until you just about can’t breathe anymore and you hardly know where to look onscreen and you have to get let it wash over you, this cinematic experience. Or not. Gilliam doesn’t seem to care about box office, which is good, because the box office doesn’t seen to care for him, too often (The Brothers Grimm hasn’t even yet earned back half its budget). It’s simply too much for many people, I suspect, that Gilliam’s movies aren’t mere throwaway diversions about rogue cops avenging their partners or cute dogs that rescue people or whatever, that they plug themselves right into the collective psyche and gleefully pull out the stuffing… or maybe that they unplug you from the Matrix you’re always plugged into and ask you to question things you take for granted.

review of The Brothers Grimm, posted 10.05.05

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  • Actually I thought “The Brothers Grimm” was pretty disappointing for a Terry Gilliam flick. And I suspect its vision–or lack of one–owed more to screenwriter Ehren Kruger (the creative genius behind “Reindeer Games”) than it did to director Terry Gilliam.

    And given the fact that the movie takes place in a country occupied by Napoleonic France–a regime not generally associated with traditional Christianity–your tendency to read this movie as an anti-Christian flick is most peculiar, indeed.

    But then as you’ve noted, we all have our biases.

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