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An odd but affecting mixture of drama, comedy and fantasy, The Fisher King manages to balance moving performances from Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges with director Terry Gilliam's typically askew universe.
All Critics (59)
| Top Critics (10)
| Fresh (49)
| Rotten (10)
| DVD (3)
Visually impressive, frequently pretentious, and extremely fluid as narrative (the 137 minutes sail by effortlessly), this mythic comedy-drama presents Gilliam as half seer, half snake-oil salesman and defies you to sort out which is which.
The Fisher King has two actors at the top of their form, and a compelling, well-directed and well-produced story.
Working within the constraints of a big studio film has brought out Gilliam's best: he's become a true storyteller and a wonderful director of actors. This time he delights not only the eye but the soul.
Scary, touching, often hilarious, this modern fairytale is surprisingly enchanting.
For every wild ride through Manhattan by an imaginary Red Knight trailing billows of flame, there is a small, comic encounter in a more down-to-earth mode.
So what if it's not perfect? It's magic.
The relationship between Jack and Perry feels lived in ... Yet, the movie's relationship to the themes of mental illness, mass shooting and homelessness are clumsier.
At times loud and brash, at others introvert and delicate, Gilliam has crafted something rather special in this rightfully-beloved film.
Gilliam is not a director who does things by halves, and The Fisher King is as funny and emotive as the best of his work. Indeed, it's the heightened humanity of this film that resonates the strongest.
The search for the Holy Grail reaches peak insanity in this wild, redemptive ride through two men's interconnected lives.
Intense '90s drama has gory violence, mature themes.
[Numbers] among the director's masterpieces.
A powerful and moving performance by Robin Williams is tempered by Jeff Bridges who just doesn't seem up to the task of portraying a character of any depth. Oh, and that hair! Dare I comment on the gawd-awful early 1990's fashion?
An intriguingly original mix of fantasy, drama, and comedy concerning a brash radio host (Jeff Bridges) who feels responsible once one of his listeners goes off the edge and goes on a shooting spree. One of those affected by this tragedy, now a crazed homeless man (Robin Williams), crosses paths with the now haunted DJ, and the radio host feels this is his chance at redemption, even though his girlfriend (Mercedes Ruehl) is not supportive of it at first. Director Terry Gilliam is well known for being fairly whimsical and goofy with his material, and this film is no exception. It feels a tad unnecessary at times, but the script itself is so strong, and the performances are all so, so good, that this film remains likeable throughout its running time. It balances a lot of heavy material such as loneliness, madness, and depression very well, and New York City proves to be the perfect backdrop for a story such as this one.
With the death of Robin Williams, in review this film may be one of his performances that leave you heartbroken. Williams plays Parry, a homeless vagrant who is still reeling from the murder of his wife three years prior, via an insane mass shooter. Bridges is a shock jock whose thoughtless antics leads said mass shooter to do the deed. Playing on this achingly pathetic set-up, director Gilliam leads us by the hand through his mystical world, created by the bitterness of grief, the terror of self-actualization, and the wonder of change. Bridges and Williams both engender the sympathy of the audience with their human performances, symbiotic and yet complete opposites. The symbolism of the Red Knight is mythological but also telling of the psychological trauma induced by his wife's death. It is both the driving fear of the unknown and also the self-hatred that lends itself to Parry's psychosis. This symbol can be regarded as everyone's true fear, anyone's anxiety inducing parallel, and that not only is very touching when regarded as a metaphor for mental illness, but for those running from something in general. Very beautiful in execution, and always heartbreaking, no matter the context, Gilliam created a vivid world, and an even wilder set of characters for us to fall in love with.
Leave it to Terry Gilliam to take a story about redemption and turn it into something quirky and off the wall.
Jack Lucas is a radio shock jock whose rantings lead to a psychotic listener embarking on a mass shooting spree at a nightclub. Three years later, Jack is still detached , depressed, and suicidal. During a drunken attempt to end his life, Jack is saved by a crazed street person named Parry who styles himself as a medieval style night on the quest to claim the Holy Grail. When Jack discovers that he is inadvertently responsible for this man's nuttiness (the man's girlfriend was killed at the night club), he takes it upon himself to help him out and redeem himself.
Like I said, leave it to Gilliam to bring you on a wild journey, one that, like a lot of his works, blurs the line between reality and fantasy. This actually might be Gilliam's most down to Earth film, but it's far from normal. Overall, I really liked it. It is overlong, sometimes incoherent, and maybe a bit too ambitious for its own good.
However, the film is shot well, has a lot of neat ideas, and we get some great performances from Jeff Bridges as Jack, and Robin Williams as Parry. This is easily one of Bridges's strongest performances, and he really fits the bill perfectly. Williams gets a little too characteristically off the rails at times, but he and Bridges do have some strong moments together, and I have to give him props for being willing to run around Central Park completely naked on a very cold night. Amanda Plummer is good as Lydia- the object of Parry's desire, and Mercedes Ruehl is nice as Jack's girlfriend Anne. I also loved Michael Jeter as a homeless cabaret singer, and Tom Waits as a wheelchair-bound veteran.
Give this one a look. It's wild, offbeat, and a good mix of comedy and drama.
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