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Terry Gilliam

Directed by: Terry Gilliam
In a spooky introduction to this two-disc set, Terry Gilliam cautions us that many will not like the movie we are about to see. It isn't a good sign when a director feels it necessary to warn his audience (and not in a faux carnival-barker way). Gilliam, the maverick visionary who delivered Brazil, The Fisher King and 12 Monkeys, is not mellowing. The heroine of his new movie, Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland) is a little girl living in a world of grotesques. A drug-addled father (Jeff Bridges) deposits her in a creaky old house in the middle of nowhere (Saskatchewan, standing in nicely) where she goes down the figurative, and eventually literal, rabbit hole into her imagination. If anything, Tideland is a distillation of Gilliam's thematic obsessions, finding their purest form in the tale of a girl's subjective reality, her dream worlds and her doll heads. It's all much more juicy and frightening than his last effort, the murky Brothers Grimm. Still, Tideland is to be endured rather than enjoyed. It's incoherent and frustrating, suffering badly in comparison to, say, Pan's Labyrinth, a recent picture tapping a similar vein. The gruesome, nightmarish setpieces, vagrant narrative and freak show characters will test the patience of all but the most dedicated Gilliam acolyte. Thanks for the heads-up, Terry.
—Carsten Knox

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Vol 25, No 21
October 19, 2017

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