September 22nd, 2007
Directed by Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, The Brothers Grimm, many more.)
Sweaty 90’s male-bonding flick, with Robin Williams as a wacky schizophrenic street person and Jeff Bridges as a damaged former radio dj. Full of Northrop Frye-inspired archetypal symbolism about the wounded king, the hero who must save him, and the quest for the holy grail. Features a scary red knight who gallops through New York’s Central Park with a flaming sword.
I was an English major at Queen’s. I love this stuff!
The female roles are sterotypes - ditzy fair maiden, long-suffering earth-mother wife - but Amanda Plummer and Mercedes Ruehl both shine. The male characters are stereotypes too, but they are much better developed than the women. Jeff Bridges is solid as usual, and this role suits Williams better than most - it allows him to go soaring off on the comic riffs he is renowned for.
This is a somewhat weird but very good movie. It has some problems: Bridges does the whole thing with horrible 90’s guy-pony-tail hair; the movie thinks street people are amusing and romantic, like the singing/dancing ones in Oliver; a Pinocchio doll appears with “symbol” practically written across it, and then isn’t a symbol; Bridges and Williams strip naked and lie in the grass looking at the moon together.
But I like it anyway. Highly recommended.