Film Reviews


By • Aug 26th, 2005 •

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Dimension Films and MGM present a Mosaic Media Group/Daniel Bobker production
MPAA rating PG-13 / Running time — 119 minutes

QUOTE: Magical! Wonderful! Gorgeous! Enchantment comes to life.

I googled Jacob and Will Grimm. They led rather uninteresting lives, but director Terry Gilliam and screenwriter Ehren Kruger have conjured up a magical film that trumps all the Harry Potter movies.

Will (Matt Damon) and Jacob (Heath Ledger) are famous in Germany as demon-killers. They save poor villages from frightful witches and troublemaking demons. The horrible tales villagers tell are all written down by Jacob, who is the keeper of the records. They are skillful in destroying witches and freeing villages since they have two assistants: one who works the illusions and the other who plays the aggrieved demon. They may be imposters, but the villagers are always satisfied.

The French, newly occupying Germany, catch the brothers and “convince” them to go to the village of Marbaden where little girls have gone missing. The villagers are certain there is an enchanted forest swallowing up their children. Gen. Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce) arrests the Grimms and forces them to go to Marbaden. He sends an Italian, Cavaldi (Peter Stormare), to accompany them.

The brothers are not prepared for what they uncover. The forest is really enchanted and there really is a curse. There is a creature-monster kidnapping little girls. Angelika, (Lena Headley) a self-sufficient hunter, reluctantly helps the brothers navigate through the forest. She has lost two sisters to the sinister forest curse. The curse appears to be a love enchantment and the girls are being fed to the Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci) to bring her back to life.

With the exception of the wildly over-acting Stormare (easy for him unless he is straight-jacketed), everything about THE BROTHERS GRIMM is delicious. Headley is wonderful as the smart heroine and, what can one say about the gorgeous Bellucci? She is divine. She is enchantment itself! And the classic Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales? We see all the pieces come to life that inspired the brothers to create those wonderful stories such as the genesis of Jack and the Beanstalk’s magic seeds and the story of little Red Riding Hood. It is all here for you to savor.

Gilliam had a horrific experience making this film and its release has been delayed several years. Regardless what went wrong and who is to blame, THE BROTHERS GRIMM is wonderful. (Miramax’s Bob and Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t allow him to hire Samantha Morton, insisting on a lesser-known actress. Gilliam refused to work for two weeks after “The Grim Brothers” fired his director of photography for working too slow!). Gilliam does seem to always work in chaos – I saw that Don Quixote fiasco-as-documentary.

The medieval settings are lush and crowded with superstition. I happen to be highly superstitious; I knew the villagers were not being hoodwinked! Gilliam recreates our most treasured fairy tales with flair and enough darkness to respect adult sensibilities and, deservedly, it’s PG-13 rating. Whatever the problems, THE BROTHERS GRIMM is testament to the bold creativity of Terry Gilliam.

Will Grimm: Matt Damon
Jake Grimm: Heath Ledger
Delatombe: Jonathan Pryce
Angelika: Lena Headey
Cavaldi: Peter Stormare
Mirror Queen: Monica Bellucci

Director: Terry Gilliam
Screenwriter: Ehren Kruger
Producers: Charles Roven, Daniel Bobker
Executive producers: John D. Schofield, Chris McGurk, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Jonathan Gordon, Andrew Rona
Director of photography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Additional photography: Nicola Pecorini
Production designer: Guy Hendrix Dyas
Music: Dario Marianelli
Co-producer: Jake Myers, Michael Solinger
Visual effects supervisor: Kent Houston
Costumes: Gabriella Pescucci, Carlo Poggioli
Editor: Lesley Walker

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