The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Rating: ***
Release Date: 8/26/05
Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Jonathan Pryce, Peter Stormare, Lena Headey, Monica Belucci

Will and Jacob Grimm (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger) are frauds posing as professional ghostbusters. They fabricate hauntings based on local folklore, then conveniently show up to purge the demons for a considerable price. They meet their match when they encounter a real enchanted forest that is dominated by a cursed queen who is kidnapping children. Pressed into service by a wicked French general (Jonathan Pryce), the Grimms must face and overcome the terrors of the forest (as well as the French army) and rescue the children.

Another visually stunning masterpiece from Terry Gilliam, full of awe and beauty. As you would expect, the set design and art direction are suberb. The special effects are very good for the most part, although there are numerous shots and compositions that look cheap and downright awful. The acting is quite good, with all of the characters giving lively and engaging performances. The weakest aspect of the film turns out to be the story and its sugary sweet happy ending. The film literally falls apart at its climax, and then insults you with its "happily ever after" proceedings. Curiously, similar films like Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" (1999) and Christophe Gans' "Le Pacte Des Loups" (2001) suffer from the same problems. The premise of the Grimms being charlatans also spoils the tone of the film and dilutes the sensation of magic. The film would have worked much better if the Grimms were REAL ghostbusters and all of the magic and fantasy of their world was real. There's also an uninteresting sibling rivalry subplot that derails the story, and the humor in the film is sorely misplaced. Some of the dialog is suprisingly bad, and characters often overstate things that are better left unsaid. Still, the film is definitely a treat for the eyes, and if you like Gilliam's visual flair, you'll definitely enjoy "The Brothers Grimm."