Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Fisher King

The opening moments of Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King show shock jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) basking in his fame in his own arrogant way. He promptly gets knocked down several pegs when one of his broadcasts inadvertently causes a mass shooting. The next three years have him spiraling out of control.

Enter Parry (Robin Williams), a homeless man who saves Jack from a couple of thugs. What follows is a journey that involves redemption, romance and the Holy Grail. (No, seriously.)

Gilliam is known for his surreal work like 12 Monkeys and Time Bandits. (He is a member of Monty Python after all.) But with The Fisher King, he makes a decidedly more accessible film for the masses. It's a dark film, certainly, but it has its moments of whimsy. (The Grand Central Station scene is why cinema exists.)

And Gilliam also got memorable performances from his actors. Mercedes Ruehl steals every scene she's in. (No surprise on how she won the Oscar.) Amanda Plummer displays a quiet, mousy air to her role. (A stark contrast to her more famed role in Pulp Fiction.) Bridges has a damaged, fiery edge not normally seen in his other roles. But the star is clearly Williams. His performance switches from comedy to drama, sometimes within the same scene. (His declaration to Plummer is a beautiful example.) Oh, did we lose one of the greats last year.

The Fisher King is a charming and dazzling film (though not dazzling in the way you might think). It's a film where all its elements work wonders both by themselves and together. Be sure to see it.

My Rating: ****1/2

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