Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Written by: Terry Gilliam & Tony Grisoni, based on the novel by Mitch Cullin
Starring: Jodelle Ferland, Brendan Fletcher, Janet McTeer, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly, Wendy Anderson
At last, Terry Gilliam's latest movie has come to me on DVD. I have some pretty weird feelings about him - I like about half of his stuff. The other half is just... too... weird (I'm so bourgeois, I know). This one comes with a little warning at the beginning where Terry comes on and says a whole bunch of stuff about how weird the movie's going to be and apologizes to everybody in advance. Ass kisser.
I'd heard a lot of stuff about this movie before I saw it - about how it was really disturbing, and was too much like Pan's Labyrinth, but I tried not to think about that shite while watching it.
It's told through the eyes of a young girl whose junkie parents die, leaving her all alone in an old house in the middle of the prairie. She fends for herself, playing games with her doll heads like children do. She befriends the strange siblings living down the way a little bit - one of whom is a mad taxidermist who believes that dead people will come back to life if you leave them long enough, the other pretends he is the captain of the submarine and spends all of his time trying to destroy a train which he says is a giant monster shark.
And it's a beautiful movie. I can understand why a lot of people didn't like it - there are some pretty sexual themes running through there, and a lot of people probably can't deal with little girls having relationships with fully grown men. Mr. Gilliam does address this in his ass-kissing intro - he says something about people finding it disturbing because it is innocent. Quite so.
Having been a girl of that age fairly recently (and not having grown up a whole lot, I might add), I can really identify with the main character, and I find it truly incredible that Gilliam can too - she's completely, 100% real, and she was created by older men.
All of the characters are extremely believable, and strangely endearing in their own way - even the corpse of Jeff Bridges (I like Jeff Bridges) - and though they are exaggerated to a certain extent, they all feel real. Everything feels real, as opposed to some of Gilliam's other pics. Brazil, for example. You're never sure what the hell is going on in that movie, whether it's all just a dream or what. A lot of his movies are like that. In this one, pretty much everything is really going on, as bizarre as it all is.
I certainly liked it better than his last movie, Brothers Grimm or whatever it was - I liked Brothers Grimm okay, but I liked this better. It had that whole Canadian thing going on. And I like Jodelle Ferland (who was the creepy little girl in Silent Hill) a whole lot better than Heath Ledger/Matt Damon. She was really good.
And I liked it better than Pan's Labyrinth. I liked Labyrinth too, but there's something about it... it's horribly grisly and depressing for one thing, and even though the writing is good and the little girl is very believable, it's got that lingering feel of a guy movie plastered all over it. You can just tell it was made by the same guy what did Hellboy and Blade 2. It's violent.
Tideland is a much more interesting fantasy, and a better and more optimistic fairytale. It's beautiful all the way around.
It's really hard to describe - I guess I should just tell everybody to see it no matter what they think of stuff like that. And though Terry Gilliam's little intro is totally uncalled for, it's a good bit of advice. You must obey.