The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård, Olga Kurylenko, Joana Ribeiro
In cinemas January 31st
After 29 years in development and almost a year after its release in other territories, this latest offering from Monty Python legend Terry Gilliam finally hits Irish cinemas. Outside of his Python work, Gilliam is an acclaimed filmmaker. Let us not forget that he has given us such classics as Brazil, 12 Monkeys and The Fisher King. His work has a tendency to be quite surrealist and this is no exception.
How to explain the plot? Driver plays a disillusioned wannabe film director Tony Grisoni who now works on adverts. He finds himself watching one of his own student films which he made while filming a commercial in Spain. It features a local cobbler Javier (Price) who he cast as Don Quixote. Struggling on his current commercial project he takes to the road and discovers the village he found Javier in and finds that he is still there – and living the part. He soon finds himself sucked into a surreal world of faction where Javier completely believes he is Don Quixote.
I have to be honest – this is a bit of a mess. Its decades of development show and I feel Gilliam was just so desperate to finish it after working on it so long that he lost focus on the story. It has some lovely moments but overall it is rambling and incoherent. I know that Gilliam specialises in whimsy but at times I wasn’t even sure what I was watching.
Obsessive Python fans will think this is the greatest movie ever but it really isn’t. The fine cast does their best but the rambling and incoherent story does no one any favours. The cinematography is beautiful and there are some wonderfully shot scenes, but I fear Gilliam lost sight of the prize in his excitement to finally get this to the screen.
Unfortunately, this film doesn’t justify its three decades in development. I wanted to like this but I found it underwhelming and it won’t earn Gilliam any new fans. Even Gilliam’s older fans might leave the cinema a little disappointed.