Friday, April 9, 2010

The Brothers Grimm

In this world, there are many things that should have been great. Among those things is today's entry, The Brothers Grimm. In the starring roles, Matt Damon, who remains one of the most likable screen presences out there, and the late Heath Ledger, who, in spite of having some monumentally poor choices in roles, was a frequently engaging screen presence. In the director's chair was Terry Gilliam, who, in spite of famously bad luck, has an arresting visual sense and a taste for the whimsical and the macabre. Who could be more suited to a movie inspired by the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, which are all bizarre and twisted? This should have been a fantastic film.

Should have.

So, what went wrong? The story itself isn't a bad idea. Damon and Ledger are the Brothers Grimm, who, instead of collecting folk tales are engaged in being paranormal investigators and con men. Knowing this, French general Delacombe (Jonathan Pryce) gets them to investigate another seeming paranormal scam, which might not be a scam after all, and make those silly Germans believe in logic and reason over fairy tales. Included in the mix are about ten billion references to other fairy tales, and a story that gets lost in its own ideas.

That's part of the problem really, it's got many ideas, but it doesn't know what to do with them. It's over thought, making a conscious effort to tie in as much fairy tale and references in as possible before the story ends. It is trying very hard to do as much as it can to remind everyone that it's a film called the Brothers Grimm and about fairy tales.

The other part of the problem seems to be that someone, somewhere along the line realized that holy crap, it is a script lost very far in its own ideas and as a result a bit weak. As a result, everything is cranked up to 11, from the visuals - which are grim and frightening and certainly nightmare material - to the acting. Oh god, the acting.

Peter Stormare, who plays Cavaldi, a French...something, deserves his very own paragraph for his... whatever this is. He is completely incomprehensible, and flails around wildly and incoherently, trying desperately to bring something to the screen. I am completely confused by what the hell he's trying to do. He's just this distracting screen presence, as he flies around in a fit of pure insanity. While Ledger blubbers and Pryce hops between having a bad French accent and being a sniveling villain, Stormare is just bizarre.

So, it's got nightmare material looks and performances that are completely mad, it doesn't really have a core to it. The story is so lost in the ideas that the actual plot doesn't make sense. What should be something of an engaging romp becomes an unintentional horrorshow. The people involved should have lead to great film, but it isn't. Cursed potential.

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