The Brothers Grimm

2005

Action / Adventure

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Matt Damon as Wilhelm Grimm
Heath Ledger as Jacob Grimm
Monica Bellucci as Mirror Queen
Petr Ratimec as Young Will
720p
700.31 MB
1280*692
English
PG-13
English
23.976 fps
1hr 58 min
P/S 6 / 38

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Greg Eichelberger 7 / 10

"Grimm" an interesting, creative and visually-intriguing film

Terry Gilliam, the only American member of the Monty Python troupe, and director of such quirky classics as "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "The Fisher King," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen" and "Monty Python & The Holy Grail," among others, does it again with bizarre combination of Munchausen and Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow," with a little bit of "The Village" thrown in.

This dark-humored film relates the completely-fictional story of the famous German brothers, Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jakob (Heath Ledger) Grimm, who created dozens of fairy tales and nursery stories for children in the early 19th Century. True to Gillian's idiosyncratic style, though, the movie plays nothing straight down the line. In this case, the brothers are con artists, traveling through the French-occupied German villages (remember Napoleon was big in those days) and playing on the fears and superstitions of their idiot occupants.

Wearing goofy armor, shouting made-up incantations, and using hidden assistants, sleight of hand and other trickery, they fool these hicks into paying them big money, that is until they are finally captured by French forces, and sent to a town where several young girls have gone missing. The two arrive with little fanfare, as well as several French soldiers and Cavaldi (Peter Stormare, "Birth," "Bad Boys 2"), the evil Italian inquisitor of Gen. Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce, "Brazil") to try and solve the mystery. If they fail, they will be tortured and executed.

Since, of course, they are fakes, they have no idea what they're doing but, with the assistance of a female trapper, they discover a crumbling tower deep within a foreboding forest. The woman remembers her father telling her the story of an evil queen who sealed herself up there to avoid a plague that was killing her subjects. It seems this tower and whatever now lives inside of it may be the cause of all the trouble.

Borrowing heavily from "Sleepy Hollow," the two have gadgets and inventions which were far ahead of their time (and thus completely illogical to those around them). Their efforts to solve the disappearances are clumsy and awkward, but somehow they stumble onto clue after clue. All the while they exchange silly and witty bon mots while trying to outsmart the bad guys and themselves. Even better performances come from Pryce and especially Cavaldi, who is evil, smarmy and pathetic.

Always a stickler for historic details, Gilliam's costumes and set design are perfect for 1804 Europe (the film was shot in Prague), when Napoleon was at the peak of his powers and the continent was pretty much under French control.

Weaved throughout the film are any number of the Grimm fables, including "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," "Rapunzel," "The Frog Prince," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Hansel And Gretel" and "The Gingerbread Man," among others, while the iconoclastic Gilliam throws in subtle and not-too-subtle jokes, dialogue and situations.

Here, many who may not understand or appreciate the director's roots, may turn away and condemn the project, misinterpreting Gilliam's often-frantic camera-work and reliance on special effects as a metaphor for his lack of vision or ingenuity. Nothing could be further from the truth. "Grimm," while certainly not up to the standards set in some of his earlier work, is nonetheless an interesting, creative and visually-intriguing film. Yes, it does tend to bog down every now and then, while the violent comedy, at times, is a bit forced, but, overall, that detracts little from the entire film.

Reviewed by Noel (Teknofobe70) 6 / 10

Gilliam does Hollywood ...

Being a fan of both good old-fashioned fantasy movies and of director Terry Gilliam, I was really looking forward to this one. I was slightly put off when I heard Gilliam's complaints about the constant interference of the Brothers Weinstein, but the director does have a history of being dissatisfied with the production of projects which actually turn out pretty good in the end, so my hopes were still pretty high.

Rather than being a historical biography of the famous authors, this is a fantastic make-believe story of the possible inspirations behind the stories of the Brothers Grimm. The brothers travel around Europe working as con artists, fooling simple peasants into believing they are witch-hunters and monster slayers. However, when they are captured by a French general and sent to investigate a town which is believed to have been targeted by similar con-men, they discover that there may be some truth behind the fairy tales. The very woods surrounding the town seem to be alive, a big, bad wolf stalks through the darkness and an evil power seems to emanate from a mysterious ancient tower ...

So, Gilliam tries his hand at doing a commercial summer blockbuster. And the results are, well, interesting. Primarily he shows that he can produce some great action sequences, and there are some really great visual ideas here, many of which I'll admit are entirely thanks to top-notch CGI work. These are the moments when the director's creative magic appears to shine through, and there's enough of them to make this movie worth watching. Overall it does feel strangely derivative for a Gilliam movie, but I suppose that's to be expected when he sacrifices creative control to the studio. In the past I've heard that Gilliam simply sees himself as a "hired hand" on such projects.

However, where it fails is in the mixture of action and drama, in repeatedly placing it's characters in peril whilst also making us care about them. Unfortunately this has been a problem in a lot of these big-budget fantasy/action movies lately, including last years equivalent -- "Van Helsing". The other movie with which this shares a lot in common is Tim Burton's Gothic horror "Sleepy Hollow", which was far superior to either. The main problem with the "Brothers Grimm" is that there's little to no character development in the first hour of the movie, and then almost all of the conflict between the characters is suddenly introduced in one scene. This is what we call bad pacing. And the way the characters are written seems somewhat inconsistent (although both Damon and Ledger manage to turn in decent performances all the same), and we never really get a "feel" for their personalities.

For your average light-hearted Hollywood fantasy, this is perfectly fine. But from a director with a history of making fascinating, important works of surreal art, this is somewhat short of what you'd expect.

Reviewed by sschwa 9 / 10

Do people read any more? A folk tale for adults.

Like his Baron Munchhausen, Gilliam's Brothers Grimm has been horridly misunderstood by critics and public alike. What I get from the comments and reviews is the sense of thwarted expectations, although I have little idea what the anti-Grimms expected in the first place. People dislike the kitten scene because it's a cute kitten. This I find entirely in the grotesque spirit of the original folk tales. We've learned to take our fairy tales Disneyfied, apparently. I've also heard complaints about the quality of the special effects as sub-ILM quality. Frankly, that's what I liked about them. They *didn't* look like ILM; they looked personal. I admit I found the basic premise a cliche (two con men who make their living on the superstitious gullible find out that, in this case, the magic is real), but its working-out overcomes this basic flaw. This is a movie that shuns cliche. The brightest scenes, for example, almost always contain the greatest menace. Relative safety is drab, dirty, brutish, nasty, and short. Ledger gives an amazing performance -- I had previously regarded him as a Troy Donahue update. Matt Damon shows he has the chops to cross over from small "indies" to big performances in the old leading-man vein. Peter Stromare and Jonathan Pryce do a highbrow Martin & Lewis -- Stromare all over the place and Pryce coolly self-contained -- to hilarious effect. The faces alone in this movie are wonderful, hearkening back to the glory days of Leone. There are so many telling details in the background ("Bienvenue a Karlstadt") -- let alone the foreground -- that show Gilliam's mastery. Harry Potter (which I enjoyed), Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia are for the kiddies and show us worlds we can, with effort, control. Gilliam doesn't offer any such comfort, not even at the end. The sense of menace is overwhelming, and Gilliam achieves it without super-special effects, usually camera movement (the shots following Little Red Riding Hood through the forest made my jaw drop). A brilliant film, operating at a high level we don't see much of these days. Someone compared the movie to Burton's Big Fish, another film dismissed or ignored by critics and public. Although Burton's and Gilliam's sensibilities differ, I take the writer's point. The confident, poetic handling of myth and archetype in both astonishes.

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