This film is probably best known for being the film that Heath Ledger was in the middle of making when he died. It was probably the only thing left that could happen to film maker Terry Gilliam to scupper his latest movie. Okay, it was a worse deal for Heath, but Gilliam really does get a bum deal with his visionary movies. He seems like a nice guy, but I can only assume he's a complete bastard as karma is clearly not this mans friend. Read up on it.
I'm a fan though. Ever since his crazy animation work in Monty Python caught my eye as a kid. And It's transferred to all his films, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King (easily gets into my Top Ten films ever every time), Brazil. The man is a visionary genius who makes films that live long in the memory but are very much off base.
This film is no different than the rest. It's instantly recognisable as his work. There is a lot going on, the characters are uniquely Gilliam, it's got all his crazy camera angles, the Sets are messy and detailed and the story is a dream like fantasy straight from the pages of child's book (well the kind of book that got released in 60s and 70s before the Nanny State got involved).
It's interesting to think how this film would have panned out if Heath hadn't died. I'm not sure if re-writes were required or if the addition of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as the same character in a fantasy world just slotted in with less make up required. Will probably make a good making off to match Lost in La Mancha. It seems to work naturally anyway.
But as with all his work, and like The Matrix, it can't be explained, you have to experience it for yourself. This one especially as I will have to watch at least once more before I can figure out what was going on.