The Brothers Grimm (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/11/2005

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 118 mins

Opens London Film Festival: 31st October

The Brothers Grimm has its moments, but it’s ultimately a very flawed film and capsizes under the weight of some hammy performances and a poorly-conceived script.

The Background
On the strength of The Brothers Grimm, it’s probably time for film fans to accept that just as Scorsese will probably never make another film as good as Goodfellas, Terry Gilliam will probably never make another film as good as 12 Monkeys.

After all, it has taken Gilliam seven years to get a film to the screen and if this is the best he can come up with, he might as well not have bothered. That said, it has its moments, but they are very few and far between.

The Story
The film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as Will and Jake Grimm, a pair of con artists who travel the Napoleonic countryside, making money by ridding fearful (not to say credulous) communities of demons. Demons that, in fact, turn out to be Gareth from The Office in a demon costume.

However, when the French authorities get wind of their scam, the Brothers Grimm are forced to investigate an enchanted forest, where young maidens have been disappearing in mysterious circumstances. Along the way they meet an assortment of weird characters, including a Wicked Queen played by a superbly cast Monica Bellucci.

The Bad
This is a deeply flawed film for several reasons. For one thing, it’s extremely uneven in tone – in trying to decide whether it wants to be a black comedy or a creepy children’s fantasy film, it falls between two stools and ends up failing miserably at both.

The performances don’t fare much better. Ledger and Damon do their best but are hampered by poor dialogue and the fact that Gilliam neglects to make their characters all that interesting. They’re also surrounded by a horrifically hammy supporting cast.

The Good
Having said that, there are a few good moments and the film picks up considerably when Monica Bellucci finally makes an appearance – she should make at least one Wicked Queen movie a year. Lena Headey provides good support as the love interest and there are some nice little nods towards classic fairytales such as Little Red Riding Hood.

The Conclusion
In short, The Brothers Grimm is borderline unwatchable, but it just about redeems itself thanks to a small handful of decent scenes and the combined efforts of Lena Headey and Monica Bellucci.

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Content updated: 14/12/2017 19:09

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