While "The Brothers Grimm" spins an enjoyable tale that ingeniously describes the inspiration for fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man, and Sleeping Beauty, it plays like a warped record at times, disjointed with changing production values from scene to scene.
As the 64 year old director of films like "Time Bandits", "12 Monkeys", and "the Fisher King", it's sad that a virtuoso such as Terry Gilliam has to struggle so much with the Hollywood movie machine to get his eccentric visions to the screen. "The Brothers Grimm" is Gilliam's first movie to be released since his 1998 adaptation of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and I am was eager to see any movie he delivers as a welcome return of his all encompassing storytelling style that has captivated audiences for decades.
However Gilliam as a director has a notoriously difficult time with the studios he needs to fund his movies. Gilliam's struggles plague his career, from the much publicized creative battle with Universal over the ending of "Brazil" in 1984 to his seemingly cursed luck as captured in the 2002 documentary "Lost in La Mancha" which follows Gilliam's failed attempts to make a movie about Don Quixote.
According to recent reports, Gilliam began production on "The Brothers Grimm", and stopped half way when creative disagreements between him and the studios reached a point where Gilliam left the film for six months and made his next upcoming film, "Tideland", which will premiere at the Toronto film festival in September. After a six-month hiatus, production resumed on "The Brothers Grimm" and Gilliam completed the project, which unfortunately suffers from the break in continuity.
The differences in "The Brothers Grimm" production aren't outlandish, but they are noticeable and it seems as if you are watching two movies strung together. The film, shot entirely in Prague, has a gritty feel throughout which suits the early 18th century period, however at times the quality of the film stock itself seems to be in question as production style gaffes and inconsistencies appear between the early and later scenes.
Matt Damon and Heath Ledger do well depicting "The Brothers Grimm" and the cleverly design story features enough interesting fantasy to hold it together, however the movie as a whole seems choppy and not quite the level of cohesive perfection we've come to expect from Terry Gilliam.
Looking forward to seeing Gilliam's next movie, "Tideland", for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2005 - Purple - Air Date: 8/24/05
The Brothers Grimm
Czech Republic / USA - 2005