Grim for Gilliam

The Brothers Grimm, directed by Terry Gilliam (12 Monkey’s 1995, and Fear and Loathing 1998) is the story of two brothers who travel the countryside of French occupied Germany in the early nineteenth century taking advantage of superstitious people. The two main characters, Wilhelm Grimm (Matt Damon) and Jacob Grimm (Heath Ledger) con country folk out of money by pretending to destroy demons and spirits. Although the brothers’ cons easily fool the townsfolk, the actors can’t trick me into believing that they know how to act. Heath Ledger is a contrived mixture of Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys and Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now (1979). Although Pitt and Hopper are wonderful and bring depth and oddness to their respective films, Ledger is annoying and displays that he has little to no acting depth (let’s not forget his breakthrough movie was A Knight’s Tale, 2001). Damon on the other hand isn’t necessarily bad, but his odd take on a British (?) accent certainly is. Damon should stick to his Bourne series. Although the film begins with wonderfully rich and contrasting colors in the landscape, they are far too reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999). Gilliam’s most recent addition to cinema never regains the initial momentum created in the visually stimulating opening credits. Instead it grinds to an instantaneous halt as Ledger opens his mouth for the first time. The Brothers Grimm was a disappointment. Gilliam is known for strange and hypnotic cinematography that leads the viewer to the edge of their seat anticipating what might happen next. The Brothers Grimm has neither of these qualities, instead the dialogue is boring, the acting is unbearable and the story predictable. With any luck, Gilliam will do better next time around.