Tony (HEATH LEDGER) is a normal bloke. A normal bloke found dangling by the neck from Westminster bridge with a whistle in his throat. But Tony's rescuers are any but normal. Doctor Parnasuss (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) and his traveling circus are touring the back streets of London, barely making ends meat but offering a wonderful experience. A trip inside the Imaginarium of the thousand year old monk. But society does not have time for the travelling circus anymore until Tony offers his help and knowledge. But he is gettin more than he bargained for in helping these strange people; the devil has come to claim his prize, Dr. P's 16 year old daughter Valentina (LILY COLE).
What occurs inside the Imaginarium is a complex array of humour, tesnion and surrealism blended beautifully together by the brilliant Terry Gilliam, who's project looked like failing when Mr. Ledger unfortuantely passed away half way through filiming. What followed was a stroke of genious by the director who brought in three of Hollywood's most succesful actors (JOHNNY DEPP, JUDE LAW, COLLIN FARELL) to fill in the missing parts.
The film is shot in a way that takes your breath away, from the flying jellyfish to the elephant monastry, the film has an air of elegance around it. It truly is a Terry Gilliam triumph that shines in so many ways.
The devil is portrayed as a suite wearing, pipe smoking, gambler called Mr Nick (TOM WAITS) who likes one thing more than winning a bet, and that is remodelling the bet so he can win again. The first to five souls can keep Valentina. And so forms the bases of the story. Inside the Imaginarium, the guest is given a choice which in some way resembles a choice between good or bad. Dr. P asks Tony for help to win the souls and in his charming and flirtatious way, begins the race.
Just be prepared... the story does have a morale to it. It may be cliched. It may have been used before. But it has not been used like this. The story is a rare gem that gives Heath the send off he so very much deserved. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus may not be to everybodies taste, but it will be a visual thrill ride that will be etched into the memory for a while, if not for the story but for Ledger's outstanding performance.
A BRIEF WARNING
Do not see this film, excpecting it to be a 'Johnny Depp' classic. This is not his film. His role is a cameo. But a very good one though.