IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS
Best Achievement in Art Direction
Best Achievement in Costume Design
The first two words that come to mind within the first 15 minutes of this film: Low Budget!
Now I know, “do not judge a book by its cover” so I bit my tongue through the film and hoped for the best. I was sadly mistaken.
Dubbed as the great Heath Ledger’s final performance (before his untimely demise), you assume that this film will be note-worthy. Dead or alive, you end up wondering why Heath ever agreed to partake in such a film.
First, looking solely at what the film was nominated for (Art Direction & Costume Design), neither deserve the accreditation. The clothes look like bed sheets and window blinds found in a garbage dump, which, to the filmmaker’s credit, was what I assume they were going for, however, no style what-so-ever was brought to them. The only costumes that I even recall were that of actress Lily Cole’s when they are performing the Imaginarium on stage. Besides those brief instances, the costumes are un-noteworthy.
Art Direction, again, resembles that of a garbage dump (and not in the way that was intended). I never felt like the film tried to produce a style with any art what-so-ever. The bus they drove around was a cluster-cuss (thanks Mr. Fox). I felt as though it may be stylish, but upon reexamining my thoughts, the bus nor the stage get-ups were very established.
Perhaps the film went entirely over my head, but I did not buy into anything the filmmaker was trying to sell to me. The imagination sequences were gaudy, with animations that a beginning animator could conjure up. The attempt at salvaging the structure of the film without Heath was laughable and confusing. And overall, the entire film felt low budget (quality looked home video-ish, acting was not spot on, and the sets, costumes, and props all fell apart in front of you).
The film acted simply as a remembrance of Heath Ledger and nothing more. Heath Ledger acted as best as possible given the film he was acting in. By far, Heath was the shining light of the film, postmortem or not. Lily Cole was gorgeous and allowed for “eye candy”, but generally glossed over as a character (besides a “piece” manipulated by the Doctor and the Devil). The adding of Johnny Depp, Jude Law, & Colin Farrel were appreciated but utterly ineffective. I have been told I do not understand Terry Gilliam’s work, and that is fine, perhaps the film is not intended for me. The screenplay, to me, was a mess. The twists and turns were not well done. I understood the plot for the most part, but saw no reasoning behind any character’s motives or driving forces. The plot simply came down to Immortals being bored and playing games, which leaves for no moral or underlying message.
Sorry to say, this film will gladly not take any Oscars home, which is sad for the memory of Heath Ledger, which should have been left in The Dark Knight and not a low budget, Monty Python-turned-serious film. Long live The Joker.
(16 FILMS TO GO)