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.
Pre-teen Jeliza-Rose's parents are hopeless drug addicts. When pa, rocker Noah, finds ma's OD'd, he fears to be charged with homicide and takes Jeliza along to his ma's place, in a desolate country region. With Noah passed out, the girl mentally transfers to a fantasy world she and her doll heads enter magically. Jeliza's adventures also star the crazy locals, notably Dell, and Dell's grown but intellectually disabled brother Dickens. Written by
Bizarre. Fantasmagorical. Frightening. A story-book nightmare.
Who else but Gilliam would give us a view of the inside of "The Dude's" ribcage?(Well, maybe Lynch)
In Tideland we approach to the edge of what is acceptable to the average film-goer but I kept wishing we would go over the edge and see what's there. Others in the audience claimed they wanted to escape to the lobby. It leaves most viewers uneasy, as if the film is an unpleasant taste to be rinsed from the mouth.
Whether or not you like it relies on the individual but what cannot be denied is that the film floats on the performance of Jodelle Ferland who plays 8 year old Jeliza-Rose as a modern day Alice though Tideland seems a far more frightening place than Wonderland. With the aid of her finger-puppet dolls' heads Ferland essentially inhabits 5 different roles withing the film. Easily one of the creepiest but most interesting performance by a child in years.
Good film? Bad? This hard-to-digest film seems to remain outside of such judgments. Best to see it for yourself. One thing is guaranteed: it's an unsettling journey into the realms of the weird.
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