The Brothers Grimm (2005)

(In theaters, August 2005) Given Terry Gilliam’s considerable talents and his heart-breaking lack of success in delivering his visions on screen, it’s hard to avoid seeing The Brothers Grimm as anything but a considerable disappointment. There is a spark of postmodern interest in a story following the adventures of the young Grimm brothers as they confront elements that would later be incorporated in their famous fairy tales. But the actual execution of this premise on-screen sucks all energy out of it, leaving us with an ordinary fantasy tale with few redeeming values. Sure, Monica Bellucci is in the film. But her role lasts for roughly five minutes, and that mostly comes at the very end of the story. The rest of the time, the film goes through the motions, crawling forward at an unacceptable pace and struggling (unsuccessfully) to make an obvious sound stage set look more interesting. Visually, it’s not your average film, but it shows more mud and grime than any of Gilliam’s visual imagination. I had a lot more fun watching Sleepy Hollow, which inevitably comes to mind when thinking back on The Brothers Grimm. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are unremarkable as the eponymous brothers, through the muddled script doesn’t really help in distinguishing them from countless other protagonists. The fantasy elements are handled poorly, once again relying on mystical “I know what to do!” convictions to resolve the action rather than actual rules we can understand. An underwhelming result, and that’s really too bad: Are we going to have to wait another seven years for Gilliam’s next film?

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