The Brothers Grimm

August 28, 2005

I went into this movie not really knowing what to think. A Terry Gilliam film starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger…ayuh. Lots of chances for weirdness there. However, leaving the theater I was able to throw this one on the stack of movies starring Matt Damon that I quite enjoyed, along with Bourne Identity and Ocean’s Eleven.

As you’re probably aware from the trailers, the Brothers Grimm are a pair of con artists who get in over their head when they’re confronted with real paranormal phenomenon. What the trailer don’t show is that the reason they face down the depths of the Black Forest is a knife to their throats, put there by the despotic leader of local invading French forces. Named Delatombe and played by Jonathan Pryce (underused in this role), he represents the command structure of Napolean’s thrust towards Russia.

The role of the French in the movie is really very weird. Why they’re there and who they are is very poorly sketched out. Except for a vague reference to the short angry one, I don’t think most people would understand why the French are in Germany at all. The Italian merc Cavaldi, who tries badly to talk with a Franco-Italian accent throughout most of the film, is especially confusing.

Other than these small beefs, I greatly enjoyed the movie. They paid loose service to quite a few fairy tales, and used some really cool creepy folk tales to gloriously disturbing end. Like all Terry Gilliam movies, it is impossible to watch this film without being uncomfortable at some point. Damon and Ledger do a great job with their respective roles, being at the same time adventurous and fragile.

While I don’t think it’s a flick for everyone, I got my money’s worth.

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