Review of The Fisher King (1991)

Moving picture, 137 minutes

Terry Gilliam (director).

The promising career of a cult-hit cynic with a radio show is interrupted when his fashionably hateful words are taken seriously by a closeted regular caller with a shotgun. Three years later, the radio man has fallen a number of rungs on the socioeconomic ladder, barely able to tend a seedy video rental place for his tacky girlfriend. He thinks he might recover if he helps one of the people whose lives were on the receiving end of the violent tragedy he sparked. The victim he befriends now lives in a boiler room and plans to steal the Holy Grail from a rich man’s bookshelf on the Upper East Side.

Genre-bending social commentary, juxtaposing bums and yuppies in present-day New York. Gilliam’s first film without any of the other Pythons. Somewhat guilty of romanticizing bums in the same way that the “Home Free” scene parodies; some of the homeless characters really are zany, Tom Waits’s cameo is wise, show tunes are all it takes to cheer people up, and Parry/Parsifal does, in a sense, enjoy his “freedom”. Righteously references Night of the Living Dead (1968).

References here: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).

fiction moving picture