An Impossible Dream Come True
Veteran filmmaker Terry Gilliam deserves praise for completing The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a project besieged with what I thought were unsurmountable obstacles. In fact, Iím quite surprised he actually finished the film. But Iím also happy we can now see his long-awaited movie. After watching the wonderful documentary Lost in La Mancha back in 2003, I had doubts about the future of this cinematic endeavor.
Focusing on the realities faced by Gilliam and his cast and crew, Lost in La Mancha gave viewers al look at the un-making of a movie. Directors Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton originally planned a documentary about the making of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but when things turned ugly while struggling with torrential rains, airplane noise, and the illness of a key star, Gilliam realized the curse of Don Quixote had struck again. "This project has been so long in the making and so miserable that someone needs to get a film out of it," he said to them. "And it doesnít look like itís going to be me."
After viewing the documentary at its Telluride premiere, I told Gilliam how sorry I was about all his troubles. He replied, "Donít worry. We might regroup and try again." Still, with the devastating circumstances shown in Lost in La Mancha, I feared it would take a miracle to overcome such an "impossible dream," because in this case, the windmills of La Mancha fought back and defeated the good guys.
Fortunately, Gilliam did try again and the result? A special experience for move fans. Fantasy, memories, dreams, time-jumping, filmmaking, action, literature, comedy, drama, romance -- all parade across the screen for our viewing pleasure.
Standout performances include Adam Driver as a disillusioned film director who gets mistaken for Sancho Panza; Jonathan Pryce as the errant knight Don Quixote; Josť Luis Ferrer as a delusional shoe-maker; and Joana Ribeiro as a young girl who later becomes a woman in the throes of an evil oligarch (Jordi Molla).
Erratic windmills, angry giants, fabulous costumes, and crazy little adventures hold our interest. If one scene gets a teeny bit boring, the next one makes up for it.
Is this film overly ambitious? Of course. But thatís showbiz.
Impossible dream now come true.
Terry Gilliam, good for you!
Your Don Quixote film is done.
My admiration you have won.
Twenty-five years in the making.
I consider that earthshaking.
The obstacles you faced? Immense.
So many things to make you tense.
Tilting at windmills, you achieved
a goal in which you long believed.
Some fans may balk at what they see.
But your sly film astounded me.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
ends up as a unique movie.
Itís not perfect, but what a sight!
Creativity at its height.
In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd. --- Miguel de Cervantes.
(Released by Screen Media Films; not rated by MPAA.)
For more information about The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.