A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless. But meaning is what he already craves.
After hearing a popular DJ rail against yuppies, a madman carries out a massacre in a popular New York bar. Dejected and remorseful, the DJ strikes up a friendship with Parry, a former professor who became unhinged and then homeless after witnessing his wife's violent death in the bar shooting. The DJ seeks redemption by helping Parry in his quest to recover an item that he believes is the Holy Grail and to win the heart of the woman he loves. Written by
Jim Sanders and Determined Copy Editor
The dialog that Parry mutters to himself while sitting on top of the car while the alarm blares is attributed to both Percival - for whom Parry's character is named - and to Don Quixote. Director Terry Gilliam had, in the early 2000s, attempted to direct a big-budget adaptation of Don Quixote starring Johnny Depp but was beset by so many problems that he abandoned the project. See more »
The recording of Jack's diatribe on yuppies is very different from the "live" version we saw earlier. See more »
This movie is really exceptional in a lot of ways. It's got one of those plots, full of ironic reversals and personal struggle, that's been turned into melodramatic trash in every creative medium ever invented. With Robin Williams as the magic crazy guy and Jeff Bridges in an 80s ponytail, the ways the basic concept could have gone awry (in other hands) are truly frightening to contemplate. But with Terry Gilliam at the helm, The Fisher King speaks to your emotions more directly and powerfully than 90% of the movies out there without degenerating into sappiness.
Perhaps the most brilliant acheivement of this movie is the way it takes Robin Williams' crazy-improvisational persona and makes it an integral part of the story. Instead of being a tacked-on adjunct to the "real" movie, Williams' stream-of-consciousness patter is essential to the work as a whole.
At the same time, Gilliam is making an almost-mainstream movie for the first time in his career, while explicitly referencing his past (the Holy Grail). It all comes together into a movie you will never forget.
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