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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.88%
Worth A Look: 29.41%
Average: 29.41%
Pretty Bad32.94%
Total Crap: 2.35%

9 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Brothers Grimm, The
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by Collin Souter

"Almost as insane and infectuous as the director's laugh."
4 stars

When people ask me my favorite film of all time, I often say Terry Gilliamís Brazil. I wonít go into detail as to why, but I have been making 10-Best lists since 1985 when the film first came out and itís the one movie that has been a constant, whether at #1 or somewhere in the Top 5. It has never left me, so I may as well own up to that one as a personal favorite. Why not? Itís as good a choice as any. Since then, Gilliam has made only six films (one of which, Tideland, will be released later this year). His latest, The Brothers Grimm, may not rank up there with his finest, but itís certainly a Gilliam movie through and through.

How do you know youíre watching a Gilliam movie? Consider the lavish set designs as viewed through canted angles and looked upon by demented faces in the foregrounds; the seizing of opportunities to poke fun at torture chambers, genocide and the military; the disdain for authority by the reluctant heroes; the steadfast and resilient female characters taking charge more often than the men; visions of grim reapers, damsels in distress, moving trees and, of course, knights on horses; the Monty Python humor continuously seeping into his work, even 20 years later.

And itís all here. This is the Terry Gilliam of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the rambunctious cartoonist who would rather pile on the details into every frame than try to move you with subtle character development. Luckily, I found the characters to be interesting and fun enough to be around for a couple hours. The Brothers Grimm consist of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, respectively), two traveling con artists who roam from town to town conjuring up evil spirits and then banishing them away for good from the scared, naÔve townfolk. For a fee, of course.

Their deceptive ways catch up with them after Napoleonís German right hand man Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce, another Gilliam staple) reveals them as frauds. However, when real evil spirits start to make their way into the foreground of the quaint little village of Marbaden, the Grimm brothers get sent there to do their job for real. Many children in the village have gone missing, most notably Hansel, Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. Jacob believes in spiritual matters more than Wilhelm, who canít see beyond the idea of using their tricks for financial gains. However, with the help of Angelika (Lena Headly), whose father died under mysterious circumstances, the likelihood of these horrific events being related to evil spirits and monsters becomes more of a reality.

Damon and Ledger appear to be enjoying themselves. They downplay what could have been an annoying buddy comedy and instead keep the material at exactly the level it should be. Not too serious and not too zany. Headly is your typical Gilliam female protagonist, with a weapon in hand and smarts to spare. As Delatombe, Pryce has played this type of role before for Gilliam in Munchausen, but who can do it better? And Peter Stormare once again travels unrecognizable through the insane landscape, further exemplifying his stature as the new Gary Oldman.

The material here may be nothing new for Gilliam, but it certainly doesnít represent any kind of complete failure that I can see. True, his cup tends to runneth over in terms of unnecessary sight gags and Iím not exactly crazy about the over-usage of CG effects (that may be because Gilliam makes so few films that they seem out of place at this point in his career). But his indelible stamp remains evident and is a welcome relief at a time when most big-budget, high concept movies get delivered to us without a shred of character.

Thereís still a movie here, and a darn good one. In the future, Iím sure the film will be looked at as some kind of failure for Gilliam when compared to the rest of his impeccable resume. Heís still a visual showman, a childish tease and an artist with an imagination too big for cinema. The Brothers Grimm merely represents a creative exorcise, an excuse to get the blood flowing again for whatever Tideland has in store for us. For this, as well as every other film by Terry Gilliam, I will return. I will, to oldÖ

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originally posted: 08/29/05 13:13:23
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell not grimm pretty good actually 4 stars
2/07/11 Pamela White fun take on dark age con men and karma 3 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
6/09/07 Danielle Ophelia Indeed it is better than Van Helsing--long live Gilliam--but that doesn't take much. 3 stars
6/03/07 Beth C. this movie was very interesting and really fun to watch. 5 stars
11/30/06 Stanley Thai Meh. Gilliam kinda falls short with this film. 3 stars
10/20/06 MP Bartley Visually ravishing and loopily entertaining. The film Van Helsing should have been. 4 stars
9/08/06 drydock54321 kind of dumb 3 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist Obviously an attempt at a Labyrinth-ish cult classic; So its strictly medieocre. 3 stars
7/13/06 David Cohen Gilliam's worst movie, lacked cohesion, but not terrible 3 stars
7/07/06 Doremimi If your TV has a subtitles feature, turn it on, otherwise, it's completely incoherent. 2 stars
6/27/06 chienne Loved it, different & typically Gilliam. 5 stars
1/01/06 y2mckay too dumbed down for adults, too violent for kids, weak broad humor and meandering plot. 2 stars
12/25/05 othree Disneyish butchering Grimm favorites, in good humor, family movie 3 stars
12/19/05 um fatty it was a good movie um, publish 4 stars
12/19/05 Bree It was a fun film, but less than par for Gilliam. 3 stars
9/22/05 Fritz Dollar theaters were made for this sort of movie. Entertaining. 3 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes booooooooooooring 2 stars
9/21/05 Eric Fortune I thought this movie was better than most critics said it was. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
9/19/05 Glennyce Paetzmann If you're willing to submit to Gilliam's style completely, then you might end up liking it. 4 stars
9/15/05 millersxing A disappointment. BG is to Gilliam as Sleepy Hollow is to Burton. 3 stars
9/07/05 Gray I thought it would more funny and less weird 3 stars
8/31/05 Christian lady Too choppy, boring other than the forest scenes 3 stars
8/31/05 Titus Moments of genius, but some horrible writing and acting by the supporting cast. 3 stars
8/29/05 herkos akhaion One of Gilliam's best 5 stars
8/28/05 sweetgrrl1972 Boring. I've never come so close to falling asleep in a movie theatre before 1 stars
8/27/05 cam-ron I already saw this film. It was called BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF...only that one was good. 2 stars
8/27/05 sam a wild romp i recommend for all. 4 stars
8/27/05 KingNeutron SUCKS ALL ASS; I can't blv they actually released this pile of CRAP. Ledger is miscast. 1 stars
8/27/05 Mr. Chuckles Surprisingly awesome. Almost as good as Twelve Monkeys. Almost. 5 stars
8/26/05 Ray OK 4 stars
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  26-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Dec-2005



Directed by
  Terry Gilliam

Written by
  Ehren Kruger

  Matt Damon
  Heath Ledger
  Peter Stormare
  Jonathan Pryce
  Monica Bellucci
  Lena Headey

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