The Fisher King - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fisher King Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 18, 2014
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?
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2012
A surrealist drama/comedy with a great duo by Williams and Bridges, just like Gilliam's direction and a moving script by LaGravenese in the time when he made good films. Fresh.
Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2006
An ex shock jock DJ whose flippant tirade caused a mentally unstable listener to go postal finds a chance at redemption when he encounters a delusional tramp who was one of the victims. Probably as a result of his problems in getting the bizarre and brilliant Brazil released by the conservative studio system, Terry Gilliam produced his most mainstream film to date; but it's only "mainstream" by his eccentric standards. The Fisher King could be categorized as a romantic comedy, but probably the darkest, most offbeat one you're ever likely to see! Jeff Bridges produces yet another brilliant performance as the suicidally disturbed DJ, and although Williams is occasionally his usual overbearing self, they do share some magical on screen moments together. I must also mention Mercedes Ruehl who is adorable in a totally naturalistic way and all the funniest moments involve her in some way or another, and there are a lot of laughs in the middle of the film considering the darkness of the subject matter. It does on occasion feel a little incoherent, lurching between grim psychology and lighthearted comedy as it does and it is a little overlong. But it is littered with fantastic moments (look out for an uncredited Tom Waites) and blends social commentary, humour and character study in a very interesting way. Fans of Eternal Sunshine and Amelie should definitely give it a try.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
Probably Terry Gilliam's least weird film, this movie is a story of guilt, redemption and friendship, carried by great acting performances from Bridges and Williams and a lot of quirky ideas. When everyone at the train station starts dancing at the sight of William's crush it's simply touching, other parts make you grin or even cry. Either way, it's hard not to care about these characters and the ups and downs they have to go through as a former radio DJ tries to fix the life of a bum whose wife got shot by one of his listeners. The mix of drama and humor works perfectly up until the satisfying ending. Probably Gilliam's sweetest film, too.
Super Reviewer
½ November 14, 2006
Jack Lucas: I don't mean to be flippant or to enrage you or anything, but you're a psychotic man.
Parry: I know.
Jack Lucas: A very nice psychotic man.
Parry: Thank you.

Here's a decent enough comedy drama that has a number of effective scenes, some good performances, and oozes with Gilliam's style, even while being set in a more modern world for a change, but as a whole there are some problems and oddities that stop it working completely.

Jeff Bridges plays a shock jock radio DJ Jack Lucas, on the verge of getting larger fame, until he makes a mistake of telling a listener something that sets him off, resulting in that listener going on a shooting rampage and then killing himself.

Horrified by what he has done, Jack then isolates himself from everyone, living with his girlfriend Anne, Mercedes Ruehl, who owns a video store.

On a drunken/suicidal bender, in a desperate attempt, Jack tries to kill himself, before he is attacked, but then saved by a strange homeless man.

This man is Perry, played by Robin Williams, who alerts Jack of his quest to find the Holy Grail and the other oddities of his life. Perry is also on a daily quest to check out the shy girl, Amanda Plummer, he notices every day on her lunch break. Perry also suffers from massive delusions portraying some past demons he has.

It turns out that Perry used to be a normal character until his wife was murdered by the same man Jack unwittingly set off all that time ago. Now in attempt to redeem Perry and himself, Jack spends time with Perry trying to help him get the girl he likes and maybe become more normal.

Director Terry Gilliam's visual style is certainly apparent with his use of jarring camera angles, the constant shift in tone and mixing of various elements, not to mention the fish eye lens and a Tom Waits cameo. This all means its a good looking film and has a unique enough sense about itself.

The performances are pretty top notch. Robin Williams is essentially in a Robin Williams role, which combines his manic comic sense with the serious touches that have made his work as an actor memorable.

Jeff Bridges is sort of on and off, but that is mainly due to how the story uses his character. At points he is an understandably tragic character who let ego get ahead of him, and his relation to Perry works in many ways. Then there are times when he is just pushed too far out of character, whether it involves his interaction in Perry's life or how he treats others.

Amanda Plummer on the other hand, completely works and once she enters Perry's world, especially in one particular scene, you really want to see these two together.

It is Mercedes Ruehl who does the best however. Its nice to know she won and Oscar for her role as Jack's girlfriend. Her character is great as a person with good comic timing, a strong character quality, a believable person in terms of her relationship with Jack, and even very sensual in her own way.

There is also supporting work from Michael Jeter as a Drag Queen and a small role from David Hyde Pierce.

I enjoyed the story well enough, but its easy enough to see where its going, just too bad it tries to stretch itself out so much, opposed to editing around the number of very good scenes.

This is a good movie, working with the quirky characters, but just misses some of its beats.

Anne Napolitano: Didn't you say that what you liked about our relationship is that we didn't have to think? We could just be there for each other.
Jack Lucas: Suicidal paranoiacs will say anything to get laid.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2008
My Least favorite Gilliam Film, Mainly Because Of Robin Williams.
Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2008
Could have been better with less corny romantic scenes.
Super Reviewer
½ September 4, 2006
An unlikely friendship ocurs when events throw Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams togehter in a kind of quest. Great performances from both. This is definitely an unusual storyline and a very enjoyable watch.

VERDICT: Definitely worth a watch
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2007
A very moving movie. Great acting by Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2007
Another extraordinary film Terry Gilliam. Jeff Bridges is the depressed ex-radio chat-jock whose life is turned upside-down by Robin Williams, a manic vagrant with an obsession for bowel movements and the Holy Grail. Despite being hopelessly self-indulgent in places, it's so weird, inventive and imaginative that you're rarely bored and end up feeling all's right with the world after all.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2007
An off-balance movie about an emotionally-cold radio D.J. (Jeff Bridges) and a crazy derelict (Robin Williams) on a search for the Holy Grail in New York city. There's some past trauma which is causing their strange behaviour, and connecting their friendship. Michael Jeter plays a drag queen in distress which they rescue from Central Park. It's fun, slightly sad, and a bit twisted; not too surprising from Terry Gilliam; you can tell it is his.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2007
personally I adore Gilliam's visual style, but in this case he went a little nuts for a story that didn't need all that pyrotecnic, a sweet heartfelt tale with great acting, humour and ethics.
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2007
You can't deny it's fun to chase knights through the city. I just wish Robin Williams hadn't been in it.
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2006
I really loved this film. Terry Gilliam delivers a film which comes close to Fear & Loathing in its amount of craziness and its zany characters, but it also has a really, really strong story with a lot of emotion. Robin Williams delivers a masterful performance while Jeff Bridges plays off of him wonderfully. Probably Gilliam's best.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2006
Why oh why can't Gilliam make a film of this caliber again? And why don't I own a nice copy of it?
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2015
A crazy lovestory in true Gilliam fashion. This ensemble cast works the script well and delivers a dark yet pleasant story you'll want to watch. Once.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2014
Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges star in the dramatic comedy The Fisher King. After the rantings of shock jock Jack Lucas spur a lone gunman into shooting up a cafe full of people, Jack quits the business, unable to live with the guilt; but he finds a chance at redemption when he gets an opportunity to help a homeless man whose life was ruined by the shooting. The plot tackles some heavy issues, such as responsibility of speech, gun violence, and mental illness. But the writing isn't able to give these topics due attention, and instead tries to find some sort of happy ending. Still, the strong performances of Williams and Bridges are able to carry the film; especially Williams, who gives a compelling performance that pulls off a delicate balance of eccentric and mentally disturbed. Though The Fisher King falls short in a few areas, it still has some interesting things to say.
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