the man who killed don quixote
DIRECTOR: terry gilliam (time bandits, brazil, 12 monkeys)
starring: Adam driver, jonathan pryce, joana riberio, and olga kurylenko
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A disillusioned advertising executive is pulled into a time-jumping fantasy when he is mistaken for Sancho Panza.
Expectation can be a killer - almost as much trying to make a movie for the last 17 years but failing due to circumstances outside of your control. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a triumph both as a cinematic experience and in terms of the dogged determination of Terry Gilliam.
Toby, a disillusioned film director, becomes pulled into a world of time-jumping fantasy when a Spanish cobbler believes him to be Sancho Panza. He gradually becomes unable to tell dreams from reality.
You've got to hand it to Gilliam. He's one determined man. Despite all of the set backs over the years, he has finally completed his Don Quixote project. I can't remember a feat of cinematic determination quite like it. Hats off to him.
The story is as madcap, hilarious, fantastical and down right lovable as Gilliam himself. The first act sets the film up remarkably well - the young advert director who is struggling with his current project relives his student film days by visiting the location of his Don Quixote film shoot. Its here that things start to get bizarre.
Toby meets the Spanish cobbler that played Don Quixote in his student film who believes that he is the real Don Quixote. Disillusion bleeds into reality in a goofy, glorious way that is disorientating and delightful in every way.
Even though Jonathan Pryce wasn't Gilliam's first choice, he is pitch perfect for the role. Madness, hope, despair, and foolhardy bravery seeps out of every gesture and glance. Its a truly magnificent performance.
Adam Driver proves once again what we already know: he is one of the leading actors of his generation. In any production its a difficult balancing act to play the sane 'normal' stabilizing character to someone who is able to have so much fun being the 'mad' character. But Driver does so much with the character, going on a journey from arrogant prodigy to penitent man.
Goofy, madcap, and hilarious The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has been more than worth the wait.