The International Writers Magazine: Film
Brothers Grimm (2005)
Dir Terry Gilliam
one spoon of clichés, two spoons of visual inadequacy and
a dash of stilted acting and what do you have? -The Brothers
The run up to this
movie was indeed suspenseful and promising but its outcome, to put it
nicely was anticlimactic. Any brain dead imbecile given a script which
involves resurrecting the famous fairy tales in an exciting and contemporary
way could easily see that they were sitting on a sure fire gold mine.
The formula was there but the minds to concoct it were sadly absent.
Director Terry Gilliam, known for his contributions to the Monty
Python productions took the helm of this ambitious project. Set
in the 18th century the film tells the story of Jacob Grimm (Heath Ledger)
and William Grimm (Matt Damon) who are, historically famous for the
gathering and compiling of many of todays well known fairy tales
and folk lores. For some reason, which evades me, the plot depicts the
famous brothers as con artists who travel around the country in search
of gullible countrymen to trick into parting with their hard earned
cash. They achieve this by setting up an abundance of hoaxes involving
animated witches and fairy tale creatures which they can come in and
rid the people of...for a reasonable fee that is. Not only is this historically
inaccurate but the movies attempt to fabalize the tale by having the
brothers eventually encounter the actual things which they were under
the pretence were purely imaginary is lost by the sheer fragmentary
jumble of incomprehensible and isolated scenes.
The film commences with a scene involving magic beans where Perter Ratimee
plays (very poorly I might add) the young William Grimm; then with no
warning theres an abrupt scene transition which takes us into
the lives of the brothers Grimm as adults. There would be no problem
with this advance in time if firstly, the transition was not so implicit
that ten minutes is spent establishing the link between the children
pictured at the beginning and the adults appearing seconds after and
secondly that the time shift was blatantly an excuse to avoid explaining
the significance of the opening action.
The film then manages to peak with an almost frightening scene involving
a witch who swoops down from the rafters of an old barn. After this
initial thrill the film makers bring down the tension to a level equal
of that of a live action paint drying movie filmed in black and white.
I havent quite finished tearing this movie apart; theres
still the matter of acting, especially that of the lead roles. Matt
Damon whose range of acting abilities manifested themselves best in
the Bourne Supremacy fails to authenticate his character this time round.
Whether this is due to his inability to master the speech of the period
or just a case of pure indolence and a general lack of motivation on
the part of this film, he just fails to establish a believable protagonist.
Luckily his co-star Heath Ledger playing his brother can manage a few
more of the human emotions that distinguish us from those of the animal
kingdom, but still their lingers a vague sense that neither of the actors
were that bothered about the outcome of this film.
Anna Rust playing the sister Grimm completely butchers her role by attributing
a yorkshire English accent to a character born and bred in Germany.
As well as verbal mutilation we also get quite literally visual defacement
with the jaw droopingly gorgeous actress Monica Bellucci (Matrix),
having to play the physically repulsive mirror queen who is insistent
on consuming the blood of children
So if an abundance of clichés, poor visual effects, stilted acting,
confusing plot, historical inaccuracy, general contextual isolation
and gore for gores sake is not enough to put you off than by all means
rent the DVD and enjoy this film, but dont say I didnt warn
© Kenneth Robinson Dec 2005
Ken is a Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth
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