Film Review & Trailer: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Frances Winston reviews The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the latest offering from filmmaker, Terry Gilliam

Director: Terry Gilliam – Starring: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård, Olga Kurylenko, Joana Ribeiro

After 29 years in development, and almost a year after its release in other territories, this latest offering from Monty Python legend, Terry Gilliam, finally hits Irish cinemas.

Outside of his Python work, Gilliam is an acclaimed filmmaker. Let us not forget that he has given us such classics as Brazil, 12 Monkeys, and The Fisher King. His work has a tendency to be quite surrealist, and this is no exception.

How to explain the plot? Well, in a nutshell, disillusioned wannabe film director, Tony Grisoni (Driver) who now works on adverts, finds himself thrown back to a student graduation film he made, while filming a commercial in Spain.

He flashes back to a local cobbler, Javier (Price) who had been cast as Don Quixote in that movie. Struggling on his current commercial project, he takes to the road, discovers the village he found Javier in, and finds that he is still there – and living the part.

He soon finds himself sucked into a surreal world of fiction, where Javier completely believes he is Don Quixote. And it’s not a spoiler to say that it ends in tragedy – the title gives that away.

I have to be honest – this is a bit of a mess. The decades of development show, and I feel Gilliam was just so desperate to make it after working on it so long, that he lost focus of the story. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has some lovely moments, but overall, it is rambling and incoherent. I know that Gilliam specialises in whimsy, but at times I wasn’t even sure what I was watching.

Obsessive Python fans will think The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is the greatest movie ever, but it really isn’t. The fine cast do their best, but the rambling and incoherent story does no one any favours. The cinematography is beautiful, and there are some wonderfully shot scenes. But I fear Gilliam lost sight of the prize in his excitement to finally get this to the screen.

A bit of a mess, and probably not even stimulating enough to appeal to Python fans, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote absolutely doesn’t justify its almost three decades in development.

I wanted to like this, but I found it underwhelming, and I think it won’t earn Gilliam any new fans. And even older ones might be disappointed.

In Cinemas January 31st!  Trailer below:

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