6.8/10
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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

Trailer
1:44 | Trailer
A traveling theater company gives its audience much more than they were expecting.

Director:

Terry Gilliam
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Popularity
2,944 ( 21)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrew Garfield ... Anton
Christopher Plummer ... Doctor Parnassus
Richard Riddell Richard Riddell ... Martin
Katie Lyons ... Martin's Girlfriend
Richard Shanks ... Friend of Martin
Lily Cole ... Valentina
Verne Troyer ... Percy
Bruce Crawford ... Face Changed Martin
Johnny Harris ... Policeman
Lorraine Cheshire Lorraine Cheshire ... Mum
Mark Benton ... Dad
Lewis Gott Lewis Gott ... Diego
Sian Scott Sian Scott ... Linda
Simon Day Simon Day ... Uncle Bob (as Simon Daye)
Moya Brady Moya Brady ... Aunty Flo
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Storyline

In London, the sideshow troupe of Doctor Parnassus promises the audience a journey to the "Imaginarium", an imaginary world commanded by the mind of Doctor Parnassus, where dreams come true. In the stories that Doctor Parnassus tells to his daughter Valentina, the midget Percy, and his assistant Anton, he claims to have lived for more than one thousand years; However, when he fell in love with a mortal woman, he made a deal with the devil (Mr. Nick), trading his immortality for youth. As part of the bargain, he promised his son or daughter to Mr. Nick on their sixteenth birthday. Valentina is now almost to the doomed age and Doctor Parnassus makes a new bet with Mr. Nick, whoever seduces five souls in the Imaginarium will have Valentina as a prize. Meanwhile the troupe rescues Tony, a young man that was hanged on a bridge by the Russians. Tony was chased until he finds and joins the group. Tony and Valentina fall in love with each other and the jealous Anton discovers that his ... Written by RubyRed, Seattle, Washington USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The man who tried to cheat the devil.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent images, some sensuality, language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Colin Farrell and Christopher Plummer had previously been in Alexander (2004) and The New World (2005) together. See more »

Goofs

When Tony (played by Colin Farrell) and Valentina are in the Gondola, it appears that there is a shadow of someone walking behind the green screen in the upper right corner, between when they are talking about how perfect it is and that they have to make a choice. However, upon further inspection, this is really an out of focus frond/leaf on a foreground tree. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Anton: Ladies and Gentlemen, step up. Step up! I am Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, and invite you, invite you, sir, for one night, one night only, here at this venue to enter the mind, the very great mind, huh, of Doctor Parnassus. Dr. Parnassus!
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Crazy Credits

The credits begin with "A Film from Heath Ledger & Friends", which is tribute to Ledger who passed away during filming, and a nod to his real life friends (Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law), who stepped in to finish his uncompleted scenes. See more »

Connections

Featured in I Am Heath Ledger (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

We Love Violence
Lyrics by Terry Gilliam
Music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna
Performed by The Sir Ian Blair Memorial Choir - Ray Cooper, Mick Audsley, Ed Hall, Terry Gilliam, André Jacquemin (as Andre Jacquemin)
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User Reviews

 
Imaginarium of Terry Gilliam
2 January 2013 | by moonbus-982-519398See all my reviews

I found this film interesting and visually stunning, but flawed. At least one of the flaws cannot be attributed to faulty writing/production, but several others can be. For example, there is nothing new or original in the story: it is a straightforward retelling of Faust, the man who makes a pact with the devil and discovers that the devil is smarter and has all the time in the universe to prove it. The ideas of a man who asks for immortality but neglects to ask for eternal youth, and of a child born with a curse on her because of a prior wager her father has made with divine powers to further his own interests, are taken straight out of Greek mythology. Still, one could do worse than borrow from Goethe and Greek mythology.

The movie weaves in and out of mundane reality (the traveling freak show in modern England) and schizophrenic hallucinogenic scenes inside the Imaginarium, which is the carnival attraction into which Dr. P lures potential sacrificial victims in his attempt to outwit the devil. The scenes inside the Imaginarium show what happens when you give an ex-Python unlimited access to digital effects: quite stunning, but having little to do with the story. They show the fantasy of Gilliam running wild on a huge budget, more than effectively advancing the story of Dr. P and his accursed daughter. I ask myself what a 1930s producer/director, Fritz Lang or Tod Browning for example, might have done with this story and these characters, but without the digital effects- -the story might have benefited from leaving the hallucinogenic details more to the imagination of the viewer than brow-beating us with a pixel- barrage of details. The real horror of what Dr. P is doing is masked by the almost Dr. Seussian silliness of the visual effects (dancing policemen??): Dr. P is luring souls to eternal damnation in an attempt to free his daughter from a wager he made centuries ago. Dr. P is, in essence, trading in human souls. Dr. P himself is immortal, but his daughter is not, and time is running out for her; the horror of her situation, and the evil Dr. P is willing to perpetrate to undo the effects of his own damnable wager, could certainly have been ratcheted up by more subtle means than Gilliam employs here.

The reality scenes sometimes interweave with the fantastical ones in schizophrenic confusion, indicating, so I suppose, Dr. P's own tenuous grasp on reality. The schizophrenic quality of the film is enhanced by the fact that several different actors play the part of one of the main characters, Tony. I ask myself whether any producer/director would have chosen this as his preferred mechanism to unfold this story, and the answer I come up with is, "no". It is a trick which doesn't quite work for this story; though it did work for "I'm Not There" (no one could play Bob Dylan). The film just barely manages to make the trick plausible by implying that the differences in the character's appearance are due to the perspectives of the different people who perceive that character within the Imaginarium. OK, it was made necessary by the death of the actor in the middle of production, otherwise the film would not have gone public; I can see that Gilliam made the best of terribly unfortunate circumstances. But it is still a dubious trick.

The casting is excellent: Plummer is entirely convincing as the world- weary Faustian character, Miss Cole acquits herself well as the girl clueless as to her own impending doom, and Waits is superb as the devil. If I hadn't seen any other film with Heath Ledger in it, I would not have thought him an especially gifted actor based solely on this performance; maybe if he had completed the film, it would have shown his true abilities.

6/10


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Details

Country:

UK | France | Canada

Language:

English | Russian | French

Release Date:

8 January 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus See more »

Filming Locations:

City of London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$415,233, 27 December 2009

Gross USA:

$7,689,607

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$61,808,775
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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