by HELEN GEIB
It was inevitable that Heath Ledger’s death during the filming of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus would overshadow the film itself. While that wouldn’t much matter if we were talking about The Brothers Grimm, in this case, both the film and Ledger’s performance deserve greater attention.
I don’t have a lot to add to Nir’s review (linked below). We both loved it, and for pretty much the same reasons. About the only thing to add is my encouragement to watch it on DVD, since you probably missed it when it was briefly in theaters. If you did catch it, you might still want to pick it up. The detail and subtlety of the production make it one of those films that cries out for multiple viewings.
The Imaginarium is available on DVD and Blu-ray and comes with copious extras. There is the de rigueur commentary track, in this case by Gilliam. Gilliam also recorded an introduction to the film and a commentary (which can be turned on or off) for a deleted scene and Ledger’s wardrobe test. Other features dedicated to Ledger are an interview and the short feature “Heath Ledger and Friends.” The titles of several of the other short features suggest they focus on the breathtaking production design and art direction: “Behind the Mirror;” “Building the Monastery;” and “The Artwork of Doctor Parnassus.” I’m not sure exactly what “‘The Drunk’ Multi-Angle Progression Sequence” might be, but it sounds like it could supply some interesting insights into the shooting of the film.
Other new releases this week: Avatar, The Descent: Part 2, District 13: Ultimatum, It’s Complicated