On January 04, 2018 I wrote an article about Movies That Ruthless Reviews Eagerly Anticipates in 2018. Terry Gilliam worked on this film for an unbelievable 30 years before it finally came to fruition. This is after 10 attempts for this off and on film. No one but the whacky genius Terry Gilliam could have pulled this off. Gilliam made The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, not to mention the total mind-fuck Brazil. This was not enough, Gilliam wanted to make a really gorgeously weird film, and make it in Spain to boot.
What Gilliam finally produced, after 30 years, was one of the most deliciously bizarre films ever produced. The original slated cast of Johnny Depp, John Hurt and others were long gone, so he settled for Adam Driver as Toby and the immortal Jonathyn Pryce as Don Quixote. Good move.
How on Satan’s scorched Earth do you review a movie like this one? Goat-Edit WordPress if I know. When I’m stumped, I usually default to the 80’s Action format, but that clearly will not work with this film. Other than watching a couple of Blue Man videos and doing psychedelics, I do not have a clue.
Terry Gilliam is again, a master film-maker. I am honored to be bedazzled and befuddled by his work, and to just easily surrender to embracing his stylistic journey down the black hole of cinematic excellence. This film cannot be analyzed or understood, only appreciated. It is a film within a film within a vodka commercial. Toby, who had made a student film 10 years ago, returns to the scene and discovers the unintended effects of his innocent student efforts. They are devastating.
As the story toggles between the present and the past, the impacts of his art are most manifested by the old shoe cobbler that was cast to play Don Quixote in the student film. At first, he could not grasp the role, but eventually became so absorbed that he was totally convinced that he was indeed, Don Quixote. This is the very essence of this tale.
I will not attempt to try to explain or spoil the plot. This movie was like going down the rabbit hole wearing kaleidoscope beer googles. The sets, the costumes and the cinematography were spellbinding. Adam Driver put on a performance worthy of the rising superstar that he is. Jonathan Pryce is just a legend. His total absorption of the character of Don Quixote was nothing short of a brilliant tour de force.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, like all of Terry Gilliam’s other films, are not for everyone. His transitions between the real, the dreams, the fantasy and the past and present were done with seamless continuity. To enjoy this great movie to the fullest, you need to just go with the flow and accept what is given to you. Any attempt to over-analyze or nit-pick this film may spoil what can be a unique experience.