Not a masterpiece, not a disaster, The man who killed Don Quixote has the qualities and faults of what it is, that is to say, basically, a film for one spectator only : Terry Gilliam himself.
Announcing its legend in the opening credits, the film takes pleasure in referring quite openly to the misadventures of Lost in La Mancha, most often through lines put in the mouth of the producer played by Stellan Skarsgard. These winks would be at best anecdotic, at worst narcissistic, if we didn't realize little by little that, we are in the presence of a true cinematic exorcism. Exorcism of this damned project, certainly. Exorcism also, through the character of Toby, of what Gilliam could have become if he had listened to the sirens of advertising and had become a soulless hack. Exorcism finally, and this is the most touching, of what Gilliam is afraid of becoming (and that he may have already become for some), that is to say an old fool who no longer interests anyone, an old dreamer in a materialistic world, a relic from another time, mocked and ridiculed. Thus, despite all its failures (problems of rhythm, lack of breath due to lack of money, episodic structure that works randomly and unfortunately makes Quixote disappear many times), we can only admire this film which bears on its face its testamentary dimension. Transmission, summary of a life, return on his youth, everything is there. Gilliam is Quixote, Gilliam is Toby, Gilliam will die but Gilliam is immortal since his dreams are forever with us on film. This is the bittersweet and somewhat crazy statement of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a film about films, a story about stories, an endless dream.