Yesterday I visited the DCA to see 'The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus'. As a great fan of Heath Ledger I have been looking foreword to the release of his last film for quite some time. Unfortunately he died half way through the filming and the director Terry Gilliam and co writer Charles McKeown had to rewrite the film to make the death of the lead character less obvious.
The plot is surprisingly set in present day. A traveling show consisting of Dr Parnassus, Anton, Percy and Valentina the doctors daughter give the joe public the chance to enter their stage and travel through a mirror into a land of their imagination. Dr Parnnassus had earlier made a deal with the devil for an eternal life and the ability to transport people into their imagination through his meditation. The show rescue a young man Tony (Heath Ledger) who has been hung beneath a bridge and he soon becomes part of the act, provoking more interest with his charm. The devil soon comes to collect his payment in the form of Valentina causing much arousal in the hearts of Tony and Antony who have both fallen for her.
A lot of the film doesn't make any sense. People seem to know things before they have been told about them and calling two of the five main characters basically the same name Anton and Tony without any irony or deliberate reason is just annoying.
Gilliam did however do a great job discussing the death of the main character. There was roomers that Gilliam had given up all hope in ever completing the film until his daughter convinced him. Heath works really well with the feel of the film, his body movements and egotistical personality bring the right sense of an alter reality. Having Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrel fill in for Heath worked well however I doubt the absence of Jude law would have been missed. His appearance seemed unnecessary. Farrell had been in Valentina's ideal world fantasies before hand which tied in nicely and Depp being almost identical to Heath made it hard to tell the difference between the two at some points.
Depp, Farrell and Law have now announced that all the money they had earned from the production of the film is being donated to Matilda, Heaths little girl. Having not been born when Heath had made his will all his fortune was given to her mother.
The films credits featured "A film from Heath Ledger and friends.".
This film is as the title suggests full of imagination and I highly recommend everyone go see it.