Brothers Grimm

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Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Peter Stomare, Lena Headey, Jonathan Pryce
Director: Terry Gilliam

Once upon a time, in the highly stylized world of digital effects and CGI, where anything was possible as long as there was a budget big enough, there were two brothers. One was a dreamer, a gatherer of legends, the other, a more practical fellow, attractive to the ladies and attracted to money. They were the conman team known as The Brothers Grimm.

Jake (Heath Ledger), the dreamer, and Will (Matt Damon), the cynic, travelled the French-occupied German countryside, preying on the simple country folk’s gullibility pertaining to monsters, witches and things of a supernatural nature. With their own expert effects they would defeat these (man-made) creatures – for a worthy sum – and fool entire rural communities into believing that they had saved their villages from eternal evil possession.

But life could not carry on so, and as prescribed by the writers of this fable, all became complicated for the Grimm’s. They were caught by the French authorities (who knew of their pranks) and sentenced to solving a real mystery, one that proved to be beyond the experience of man. For this here tale was truly magical, and wicked, in character. It involved a dead Queen, twelve young girls and some really well-blended CGI…

There lies nothing else amid the imaginative sets, swashbuckling action and laugh-out-loud-humour. The people are all beautiful; the photography is beautiful; even the story, as it stands, is beautiful. But sad am I to report that there is no real substantial feeling behind all this beauty. This is much like an appealing woman who bears no mind, soul or intrigue to keep you wanting to find out more about her.

The unfortunate notion here is the What Could Have Been scenario, or what Terry Gilliam could have done to make it better, deeper and darker, and thus more satisfying. Apparently he kept on re-writing the script (originally conceived by Ehren Kruger); maybe he should have left it alone or maybe he should have penned it himself entirely? A few characters will surely only gratify a child’s mind for they are too irritating for adult endurance. And as enchanting as every frame is, there are periods when the pictorial surroundings are so busy that they tire you out, most of the time with the wrong motivation.

But it’s not as grim as they say. If you forget the useless nature of this hapless venture and enjoy the silliness of it all, as a child would, you’ll find yourself rather content. This film may be called a job well done if THE BROTHERS GRIMM manages to con you, dear reader, into the frivolity of its fairytales.

3 out of 6 stars