The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Before I say anything, I have to confess that I fell asleep for the last 20 minutes or so of this film. It’s not that I was bored, I was just exhausted; I also fell asleep during the epic fight scene while watching District in the theater. I hate falling asleep during movies, too. Kind of sinful behavior for me.

Anyway, the 75% of Imaginarium that I did see was completely crazy, in a really cool way. I’m not sure I understood all of it, but the actors were fun and fascinating enough to keep me entranced. I’ve developed a recent crush on Andrew Garfield since seeing him in The Social Network, I’ve had a crush on Christopher Plummer since The Sound of Music became my favorite movie of all time when I was around 5 years old, and then there’s Heath Ledger. Of all the movies I own, Heath dominates. I’ve got Brokeback and 10 Things and A Knight’s Tale and The Dark Knight to prove it. I love him. And so I had to see his last appearance on the big screen.

It was pretty jarring that his first scene in the movie was his limp body hanging from a noose. I heard myself gasp, and I felt myself tear up, even in such an absurd, fantastical world as the Imaginarium. But the part that he was able to contribute to the movie was fun and whimsical. If anything else, it seemed like he was having a great time, at least at work, in the last few months of his life. And what a beautiful tribute for Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to play his character in the dream world for him.

This movie is the weird, wonderful story of a scrappy entertainment troupe and a manifestation of the devil in man’s clothing and immortality and everything else you could probably imagine. I’m guessing it would be a real trip when you’re tripping out. Yet to have so many big stars attached to it, you have to believe that buried underneath all of the crazy costumes and special effects, there’s something deep there. Wrestling with the devil, thinking about living forever, trying to get a second chance — those are all things we grapple with, too. Maybe Heath was trying to tell us something, who knows? At least we have the message now.

Rest in peace, Heath Ledger.

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