This 2009 flick was written and directed by Terry Gilliam, who also did the animation and art direction. Tom Waits is in it and plays the devil. If you heard those statements and either they mean nothing to you or make you not want to see this flick already, the you probably don’t need to read the rest of this review and you probably won’t much care for the film. If, however, you read those statements and instantly know, like me, that you will see this movie and already know you’re probably going to love it, then you too probably don’t need to read more.
For the rest of you…
A man named Parnassus, played fantastically by Christopher Plummer, became an incredibly powerful monk, so powerful, in fact, that he gained powers, not the least of which was the power of immortality. His likely only, and surely greatest, weakness is gambling. It seems he simply can’t stop himself. The Devil loves this problem of his and loves to exploit it as well. Here we are now in the present and Parnassus is a drunk, feeble, old (he lost his immortality in the 1940’s through yet another bet gone bad), loser of a man whose gambling problem has sent just about every aspect of his life down the tube.
Suddenly Parnassus’ group comes upon a man who can’t seem to remember his name or anything else and he enters the story as a choice for Parnassus. This supposed amnesiac named Tony may well be a manipulative con artist who seems wholly unconcerned with anyone but himself. Sounds a bit like what Parnassus has become, eh? Parnassus, see, has this mirror that people can walk through and see, essentially, their true thoughts come to life. I think it’s safe to say that, in Tony, Parnassus has found his mirror.This movie was classic, as in 1980’s or before, Gilliam. It is imaginative, interesting, funny and engaging. I thought it was really great and I hope you all seek it out.