The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (2009)


the faces of the nest

Nothing in cinema should be more praised than an imagination rooted fully on a visual world. Films whose purpose is to create images, where images are the the medium and the end to it. Emotion? Meaning? Metaphors? Yes to all that, but embedded in the images, all those things As images, and not supported by them. If you start thinking in those terms, than Terry Gillian will stand high in his attitude towards film. Practically every concept he throws at any of his films is eminently visual.

The problem is that layered on that, he seems to be most of the time unable to overcome technical or practical limitations, and so the execution almost every time fails to achieve the success the concept promised.

Here we have a very interesting and visual thing: the idea of one’s imagination nested inside another man’s subconscious mind. The crossing of a visual portal leading to your own mind. Bounding as a deep buried thing, happening on the other side of the curtain. Two worlds separated by a thin curtain, like the old abandoned facade separates London from the refuge of our characters (magnificient space, that old emptied quarter.

Adding to that, the tragic death of Heath Ledger and the subsequent solution found to the problem lifted even more my expectations. Now we were going to have 4 of the most interesting actors today playing the same character in the same film! That was truly exciting when you think of it. And although I admit that in terms of continuity the writers did a very good job in overcoming the lack of the footage Ledger didn’t shoot, The way they placed the 3 volunteers was really far from what i was hoping to see.

Depp just makes fun of his “casually sexy” persona, something he’s been doing a lot lately. Jude Law is innocuous and only Colin Farrell does something mildly interesting, but only considering his own performance, not Ledger’s and the possible connections between the faces of the character.

If you consider that the visual worlds inside Parnasus’s mind are simply not interesting, mere digital deviations over banal virtual sets, that you get with a bad taste in the mouth. As in some other Gillian films, you know you could be watching a powerful film, but something just suffers from severe shortcomings. And in this case it’s not just the execution, although that helps.

We’re left with Lily Cole, a very intriguing actress, truly remarkable in her own personal awkwardness.

My opinion: 2/5

This comment on IMDb


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