The Fisher King Reviews
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.
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.
VERDICT: Definitely worth a watch