Jack Lucas was once a famous, arrogant and egotistical New York City call-in radio talk show host. Largely self-inflicted due to remorse and grief, Jack goes on a quick downward spiral, both personally and professionally, after a glib comment he makes to one of his regular callers results in that caller going on a murder spree. Three years later, the only emotional and financial support a despondent Jack receives is from his current video store owning girlfriend, Anne. When Jack hits rock bottom, he meets a seemingly crazy and homeless man calling himself Parry. Parry does have mental health issues, namely hallucinations centered around the story of the Fisher King, which is why he has an obsession with obtaining the Holy Grail. When Jack learns of Parry's own background and the reason he got to where he is, Jack feels he needs to be part of Parry's salvation. He figures the way to do so is to connect Parry with Lydia Sinclair, a shy and uncoordinated woman who Parry loves from afar. ...Written by
Arguably Gilliam's best film, and certainly his best acted. As usual, Bridges is completely natural and absorbed in his role. This is the only time I've seen Robin Williams combine his best humor with his severe talent for dramatic work. He seamlessly switches from being wildly charismatic to being an empathetic, heart broken man just trying to escape his past. The basic structure is one which has been done many times, but never has it been mastered as Gilliam has done. The parallels in the story are remarkable. Parry's name being short for Parsifal, a knight of the Holy Grail. Parry saves Jack just as Parsifal saved the Fisher King. Also, Parry's flight from the Red Knight is reflected from Parsifal's battle with the Red Knight. Another parallel is seen when Parry's haunted past is brought back to him after kissing Lydia, just as Parsifal is reawakened after kissing Kundry. Gilliam creates all of this beautifully, yet keeps it very subtle and light. The film itself combines outrageous humor, heartwrenching drama and even some thrilling chase scenes. The hallucinations and flashbacks also have a very haunting ambiance to them. The film really is a tour de force on all fronts. As always, Gilliam creates a very haunting yet comfortable ambiance through some of the best cinematography I've ever seen.
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