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 9 / 33

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moonstarly 7 / 10

not bad

Well, my friends, I have just returned from the earliest possible showing of "Brothers Grimm" in my area, and I can assure you it was well worth getting up a few hours earlier than usual to watch. However, I would caution anyone who doesn't like Terry Gilliam's work, Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, or the REAL brothers Grimms' stories that this is not your average fantasy. The story is set in french-occupied Germany in the 1700s, a real time in which real people actually lived. Even some of the magical aspects of the story are explained by real events (I won't spoil it for you). So quite a bit of the plot deals with the realities of the day and age along with the fantastical aspects of the forest and its inhabitants.

That being said, the story also deals with the opposite side of unreality-- the dark and unnaturally gruesome. This is where I think the writer hit on a brilliant point; while the real brothers' stories have happy endings and some lighthearted moments, most if not all of their stories involve some degree of blood and gore. My hat is off to Ehren Kruger for being true to that aspect of their work.

The only aspects of this movie I disliked were the unresolved ending (which I won't spoil, either) and some of the acting. Lena Headey's performance did not impress me, but it could just be lack of material to work with (a very overdone character) and the fact that I've never seen any of her other work. Matt Damon is interesting to watch as usual. Peter Stormare and Jonathan Pryce are wacky to the point of annoyance as an Italian torture specialist and a French general. The only truly wonderful performance, however, is that of Mr. Ledger, whose bumbling, scholarly, tag-along Jacob was both a sympathetic character and a side we rarely see from this multi-talented actor.

This is not a movie for everyone (I wouldn't bring children with the tendency for nightmares or irrational fears, for example). It's not a movie you'll learn from or probably want to see hundreds of times. But for the moviegoer looking for beautiful cinematography, a few good laughs, and a fairly suspenseful story, look no further.

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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