Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King"

While perusing the items available for instant browse on my Netflix queue, I noticed this film of which I have heard little but some. I had no idea of the subject matter going in, nor did I have any expectations. After watching it I can say that this, along with "Tideland," has shown that Terry Gilliam, while constantly dabbling in the surreal, has a handle on stories that are uncomfortable, yet human.

It dealt with a man who had no direction in life, yet had a "Pissed at the world" kind of attitude. Through his ramblings on the talk radio show he hosted, he inspired a listener to murder. This act not only shocked the character out of his apathetic, wasteful life but propelled him down a self-destructive, suicidal path. It was in a moment of suicidal contemplation that he met Perry, a homeless man, very dramatic, caught up in a self-preserving fantasy after having watched his wife's murder. Unfortunately for the main character, Jack, this was the murder spurred by his on air rant. His listener deprived Perry of his wife and, in doing so, his sanity. Continuing on after their initial meeting, the movie follows Jack as he seeks redemption by helping Perry with his apparent needs and wants. A good ending, in spite of the sometimes horrific happenings and despair, was had.

I'm still processing this one. Writing about it now is helping, though the time and my fatigue both restrict me from further analyzing the film and its effect on me. I'm impressed, as always, with Terry Gilliam as a film maker, and I'm finding new ways to appreciate Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels. I'd recommend it, with the caution that you will more than likely find yourself becoming severely uncomfortable at times.

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