Tony, Tony, Tony and Tony
One of the most anticipated films of the year (in my humble opinion) is Terry Gilliam’s latest film, “THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS” …
Not only is this the film that gifted young actor Heath Ledger was working on when he died in January 2008, but it is also the one that ends with the on-screen credit “A Film From Heath Ledger and Friends” with colleagues Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell coming together with the director to finish the film in the same role as Ledger, that of the hustler Tony.
In a nutshell, the story finds Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), a 1,000-year-old traveling conjurer, touring around London with his beautiful young daughter in an ancient show wagon, doing battle for souls by offering audience members the opportunity to explore new dimensions of their own minds with a magic mirror – a device given to Dr. Parnassus through an unfortunate arrangement with Mr. Nick, AKA the prince of darkness (played by Tom Waits).
Tony (portrayed by Ledger/Depp/Law/Farrell), a hustler of uncertain morality, joins the show after he is nearly hung…and soon thereafter becomes part of a rescue mission to save Dr. Parnassus’ daughter when she is kidnapped by Mr. Nick.
Check out the trailer here!
At the time of Ledger’s death, there were apparently three remaining fantasy scenes to be shot, and so rather than abandoning ship, Gilliam decided to have three different actors, all good friends of Ledger’s, to portray Tony in each of the remaining scenes…using the magic mirror as a device to explain the transformations.
Despite some rumblings from Cannes that the film isn’t as fantastic as hyped, coupled with the challenges that the film has had in finding a US distributor, this film looks incredible and it doesn’t take a magic mirror to see that THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS will be a cult classic and beautiful epitaph for a young life lost too soon.