The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) tells the story of an immortal named Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) who is leader to a group of traveling performers which includes his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole), lovestruck Anton (Andrew Garfield) and fellow immortal Percy (Verne Troyer). Thousands of years old, Parnassus has the power to affect the mind’s of other when they enter a mystical mirror, but with all of his power, he is forced to deal with the contract he made with the Mr. Nick (Actor/musician Tom Waits) decades ago which offers his daughter at the age of 16. The Devil returns to make a bet with Parnassus for the first to 5 souls, each having a piece of the Imagination realm.
Enter Tony (Heath Ledger), a man with amnesia when they find him hanging under a bridge. However, as time progresses he quickly learns that he is a con artist banker on the run from Russian gangsters who put him under the bridge in the first place. With Tony’s help they manage to make it close before the gangsters show up making things interesting.
The film itself has outstanding performances from all actors, including alternate Tony’s played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. Confused on the last sentence? Well, if you watch the film, it makes a lot more sense. As for Tom Waits, well I really didn’t recognize who it was until I looked up the film page on IMDB, but man, did he play a wonderfully sleazy but intelligent part as Mr. Nick. Of course, Christopher never fails to show a touch of class especially in this more likable role of the drunk Doctor Parnassus. As for Heath Ledger, this last role before his untimely death is most definitely underrated and deserves a lot more recognition than that of Dark Knight. (Let’s just face it, Heath’s role of the Joker was tainted by the weak roles of other
Terry Gilliam does a fantastic job of directing this film, taking the script that he co-wrote with Charles McKeown and giving it touches of his days with Monty Python. There is a wonderful wit and cheekiness to the scenes and dialogue that offers more sophisticated laughs than most modern comedies. No opportunities are wasted with this wonderfully entertaining film. A must watch!