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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Copied in from the 'Last movie you saw at the theatres' thread... I figure I liked it enough to stick it here too

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

A gypsy cavalcade of Gilliamness that definitely doesn’t disappoint. The many leads and supports curl nicely into this bundle of frayed imagination, which bounces along with trademark dark-tinted wonderment.

There are some familiar visual treats and treatises here, from the dreamer as dupe to the cardboard artifice of theatrical troupes. CGI has to do a touch too much heavy lifting at points in the ‘imaginarium’, but does manage to create genuinely dream-like moments at times, all of which contrast nicely with the ragbag crew peddling its wares on the streets of London and the like.

I’m not sure what my reservations are, but the whole thing didn’t quite hold together for me, or feel like the creation of a totally classic story. Which is strange, because it is a novel spin on the Malthusian bet, and it’s delivered with lots of elan and intrigue. I think perhaps time/money restraints show through in the odd ‘imperfect’ take, despite the cast knocking spots off each other as things progress. Plummer is marvellously plummy, Garfield is excellent as the greasepaint monkey, Lily Cole is a model nigh-amateur, and everyone from Waits to the heavyweights keep the fantasy-realism on track. It’s got laughs, tragic farce, and a strong thread drawing you through the middle of it. I guess it’s just a huge ask to make a dream completely real.