5.0 out of 5 stars The Fisher King
This is a movie that you should probably already know if you like it or not, and this movie might not be for everyone. But those who like it actually love it. The blueray does not come with much extra but it is nice having a high quality version. This is Robin Williams at his best and Jeff Bridges is always a pro. I like New York in June, how about you?
Published 7 months ago by Nathan J. Scrutton
2.0 out of 5 stars A sham...Perfect for all of today's shallow non-thinkers
I loved this film when I first saw it: the over-the-top symbolism, the grand irony of an arthurian legend in the middle of nyc, the gushy proto-improvisational performances, it seemed so edgy, full of vision and daring, so "about something". Over the years, however, I've come to see it as a fraud, the characters all pure surface: they really are "symbols" and not real...
Published on May 4 2000 by inframan
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Fisher King,
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This review is from: Fisher King [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)This is a movie that you should probably already know if you like it or not, and this movie might not be for everyone. But those who like it actually love it. The blueray does not come with much extra but it is nice having a high quality version. This is Robin Williams at his best and Jeff Bridges is always a pro. I like New York in June, how about you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bungled and the Botched strike back,
This review is from: Fisher King, the (VHS Tape)Terry Gilliam's post-Python oeuvre usually strikes me as rather cold and overly intellectualized. I 'like' his movies very much, but can rarely get close enough to 'love' them. "Brazil" and "Twelve Monkeys" being chief offenders in this complaint. I enjoyed their visions of futuristic dystopias, but never felt involved on an emotional level. Sure, "Baron Munchausen" tickled my whimsy-bone, and "Time Bandits" gave me kid-sized guffaws, but both those films also had a good dose of textbook thinking behind them, enough to keep the audience always an arm's length away.
"The Fisher King", like no other film in Gilliam's catalog, hits me on an emotional level. It is a visceral experience, unlike anything else I've seen from this offbeat director. Layered with tangible romance and pathos, Gilliam has created a film that will stand the test of time, even when its highbrow ideas become irrelevant.
Two scenes in particular illustrate the human beauty that this film is so adept at conveying. The first involves Parry (Robin Williams) and his daily routine: watching and following Lydia (Amanda Plummer), his from-afar crush, on her morning commute to work. Camped out in Grand Central Station, all we see are the throngs of people crowding and pushing their way to their trains. But when Parry sees Lydia, all that stops. Or rather, it changes. The music starts, tasteful glowing light emanates from the ceiling, and all the commuters take partners for a waltz. It's a ridiculously sublime moment, beautiful in all ways. It goes on until Parry suddenly loses Lydia in the crowd, and the dancing abruptly stops.
The other scene also involves Parry and Lydia, who are this time joined by Jack (Jeff Bridges) and Anne (Mercedes Ruehl). After scheming to get Lydia to come to dinner with them, Jack and Anne sit back to watch Parry try and woo her. His does so in the most childlike and endearing way: by imitating her clumsiness, her awkwardness, and her shyness. It's a mostly wordless scene, punctuated by the sight of dropped dumplings, Parry's stirring rendition of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady", and Jack and Anne themselves getting caught up in the romance.
But don't get me wrong. The whole movie isn't sweetness and light. There are actually some terribly horrific scenes, most of them psychological in nature.
Jack is a former radio shock-jock, whose off-handed remark drove a listener to spray a yuppie restaurant with bullets. He's now down on his luck, drunk, and of the belief that he's eternally doomed, his karma forever destroyed by that one moment. Bridges gets both sides of Jack's persona right. He's slimy and selfish when on top of the world. Dirty, dreary, and dead inside when stuck in the gutter (a side curiosity: I count eight times Bridges has played a character named Jack, and that doesn't even include the surname of his character in the "Last Picture Show" movies).
Parry, even more so than Jack, is tormented by psychological demons. He is connected to Jack in a horrific way, one that I am loath to divulge here. A former university professor, Parry has taken on the insane alter ego of a homeless knight. Williams shines in this role, his boundless energy and improvisational spirit giving some much needed light to what could have been a dark character. Not that the darkness doesn't shine through. Parry, stalked by a mysterious Red Knight riding an unholy steed, has a series of near breakdowns. Williams has to show both the unbalanced side of Parry, and the one that used to exist, functioning within society. He does well on both counts. (N.B., the movie takes on greater meaning when you realize that Parry is short of Parsifal, an important character in another story about the search for the Holy Grail; recommended reading)
Plummer and Ruehl do important work as the women driving the men to great deeds. Plummer, an unconventional beauty, makes you believe Lydia's shyness and sadness, while also understanding why Parry has become so smitten with her. Ruehl, dressed her in her tackiest Erin Brockovich clothes, doesn't get as much as she gives from Bridges' Jack. But she plays Anne as a strong but wounded woman, caught between a need to love and nurture Jack, and a desire to get away from his harmful nature.
This is Gilliam's second quest-for-the-Holy-Grail picture. Although off-centre at times, this might be his most cohesive movie, utilizing a fairly standard three-act structure to go along with it's quest theme. Don't worry, Gilliam fans, the director's trademark esoteric visuals survive intact. Manhattan is captured as a gorgeous, but dangerously labyrinthine, wonderland. The screenplay, by Richard LaGravenese, throws in literary and historical allusions, weaving themes and motifs effortlessly throughout. It saddens me that, except for the marvelous "The Ref", LaGravenese has wasted the considerable talent he shows here, turning out schlock after schlock during the years following this, his initial triumph.
"The Fisher King", billed as a modern Arthurian fable, lives up to that description. Crass commercial culture, shock radio, homelessness, and even a sly reference to the nascent AIDS epidemic form the backdrop for this remarkable story, which mixes the entire range of human emotions in a very satisfying and entertaining stew.
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Watch,
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This review is from: Fisher King [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)Fisher King [Blu-ray]
I was thrilled to see that this flick was available on blu ray. This is probably one of my favourite shows featuring Robin Williams. The combination of he, and Jeff Bridges, works well. The story will run you through several emotions, as a lot of (IIRC) Williams' stuff around that era did - it's neither pure comedy, nor pure drama, but a fine mix of both. Purchasing this movie, either on DVD or blu ray, is a given. It seemed to me that the DVD was hard to come by for several years after its initial printing, so scooping up the blu ray while it is available seemed like the smart choice.
As for the technical quality of the blu ray...I dunno. The pleasure of this movie is really rooted in the story, the acting. I can't say that any one aspect of the blu ray transfer stood out better than the VHS & DVD versions I've watched in the past; if you have hidef equipment, it probably looks better than an upconverted DVD on said equipment. The A/V quality just isn't an element of the flick that registered on me - it was done well enough that it didn't matter.
5.0 out of 5 stars there are so many things to love about this movie,
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)this is one of my all time favorites, for so many reasons. Robin Williams gives an amazing performance. Mercedes Ruehl has many of the best lines in the film-an awesome actress. i could watch Michael Jeter singing to Amanda Plummer a million times and never grow tired of it-he steals the whole movie with this one scene! so much of the dialogue is touchingly funny and sweet.i also love the music used in the movie.this is a great film,with great performances; i love it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Saundra's favorite,
By A Customer
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)I've seen A LOT of movies but this one is my favorite of all time. Starts out slow but makes up for it later. The story pulls you in and the character studies are so well done that you can relate fully to what might be going on in their heads. Mercedes Ruehl is the best thing in this movie and so deserving of her Academy Award. Jeff Bridges is brilliant (as usual) and Robin Williams is also outstanding. Every scene is full of visual clues to boggle the mind, and thought provoking circumstances and dialogue to keep you interested in what will happen next. Fantastic camera angles also pepper the film. I especially like the view of Jack with a cinder block tied to his shoe when preparing to drown himself. Parry and the Red Knight scenes are thrilling and involve the viewer in the knightmare that had become his life. Again, my favorite movie of all time.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top 5 movies,
By A Customer
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)Somehow I managed to miss The Fisher King in its first run theatre edition. My wife and I went to see a different film several years ago and it was surprisingly playing as a double-feature, and to this day I was so struck by this film that I can't remember what the other film was we originally went to see. The Fisher King is a remarkable achievement and tremendously uplifting. It expresses one of the universe's great truths: a being is only as valuable as he can help others. The point where a person feels he cannot help or is a detriment to others is where he begins to die. Jeff Bridge's character can only redeem himself and his life when he proves to himself that he can actually help Robbin Williams' character. While it might be argued that the film is too pat or simplistic in dealing with the issues of insanity -- that's not the message of the film. It's not meant to be a documentary statement. It is an artistic statement and delivers a very important message for our modern culture, that the ability and willingness to help those around you is what makes self-respect possible. If you have an excessively cynical nature you will probably have little time for this film. At the same time, this is a film that would be the best thing for you to watch at least 3 or 4 times back to back until you get the message. I rate The Fisher King as one of my top 5 favorite films of all time and recommend it highly.
4.0 out of 5 stars "I am the janitor of God.",
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)With lines like that strewn throughout this odd but extremely likable film it is easy to see why Robin Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for his manic, yet heartfelt work here. The Original Screenplay was also nominated, and I cannot stress how "original" it is. The dialogue is unpredictable and outrageous at times but never strays too far from emotional honesty. There are poignant scenes as well as scenes where Robin Williams it let loose to let his comedic mania shine. While that would surely be enough for most fans, there is also the wild card actress Mercedes Ruehl, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her endearing performance. Not to mention she is very sexy here as well (nudge, nudge). Jeff Bridges and Amanda Plummer round out the eccentric foursome of talented actors to make this a must-see film for those who enjoy a little originality within their movie-going experience.
5.0 out of 5 stars The journey homeward...,
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)A breathtakingly beautiful film. The Fisher King is one of the most perfectly executed movies of all time, from the stunning and highly imaginative screenplay to the haunting quality of the direction and the sheer genius of Williams and Bridges, who both turned in the performance of a lifetime. Add to that a supporting cast made in heaven and you basically can't go wrong.
While the film succeeds brilliantly even as a basic story of star-crossed individuals working out their joint karma, it is the concept of the soul's journey homeward that drives the deeper levels of The Fisher King.
As Barbara G. Walker and others have pointed out, the Grail is actually a representation of the Womb of the Great Mother, from which we all came, and to which we shall all return. Like Finnegan and Bloom/Ulysses, The Fisher King's two heroes find salvation in the simplicity of surrender and in the almost Faustian embracing of the Sacred Feminine, as embodied by the two female leads. Carrie Moss's Trinity (The Triple Goddess) also provides this transcendent nurturing to Keanu Reeves's character in The Matrix.
If you were to buy The Fisher King, The Matrix, Groundhog Day and Jacob's Ladder, you would have in your possession some of the most profound philosophical insights in the history of the human race.
A true masterpiece. Dang, it even features a cameo by Tom Waits.
5.0 out of 5 stars HEALING THE HEARTS OF MEN,
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)In my humble opinion, Terry Gilliam is a genius -- without question one of the most talented and imaginative direcors working in film today. All of his work -- BRAZIL, TIME BANDITS, 12 MONKEYS, &c -- stands up head and shoulders above almost everything else the motion picture industry spews out, but THE FISHER KING is, I believe, his greatest achievement.
All of the actors are superbly cast -- and each of them throws themselves completely into their assigned roles, to the point of BECOMING their character, which, unless I miss my guess, is what acting is about. Robin Williams couldn't be more perfect as Perry, the heartsick man with a shattered heart, who has lost his beloved wife in an act of senseless violence. Jeff Bridges, as the radio 'shock-jock' whose flippant comment to a disturbed listener triggered the shooting, is utterly convincing as the guilt-ridden Jack, locked into a downward spiral, despite the love and care vested on him by his girlfriend (Mercedes Reuhl). Then there's Amanda Plummer, portraying the hapless, mousy Lydia -- with whom, as soon as he sees her, Williams falls head over heels in love.
There are four characters here in a great deal of pain, each trying in their own way to deal with it -- with varying degrees of succcess. The way in which their paths cross, and merge, in this story, and the impact they have on each other's lives, makes for one of the most moving tales of love/pain/healing that has ever been brought to the screen. Gilliam's own unique vision guides it along nicely -- you can see his most obvious touch in the visions experience by Williams of the Red Knight, one of the most frightening apparitions you'll ever run across.
The film vividly shows the torturing, deep pain of utter loss, as well as our vital need to be loved -- and our need to perform acts of kindness, and to seek forgiveness for the wrongs that we have done. The love story between Williams and Plummer is one of the sweetest -- and most convincing -- ever in a film. It's enough to give us hope that, truly, anything is possible. Jack's road to redemption is a rocky one -- as is his own love story, which is bound up with that of Perry and Lydia. The lengths to which he ultimately will go in order to help his friend are stunning, inspiring, and, most importantly, believable.
THE FISHER KING is a modern masterpiece -- and one that will, I think, continue to move viewers for many, many years. It's story is a timeless one, skillfully brought to the screen by a modern master. If you want to show someone how good film can be, show them THE FISHER KING.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!,
This review is from: Fisher King (Widescreen) (DVD)Williams (Perry) is a homeless genius who lives in a fantasy world of Red Knights and King Arthur. Bridges is Jack, a radio personality whose career is destroyed after a listener acts out his advice. This tragedy brings Jack and his new homeless philosopher and friend together.
There are many moments of joy, and heartbreak and romance. Fisher King is a wonderful movie for all to enjoy. Williams as always is brilliant. He will make you laugh, smile, cry and applaud. Bridges holds is own but Mercedes Ruehl is terrific! But the true star is film's message. The film is rated R for scene of nudity. Cover the kid's eyes for a few minutes and let them enjoy the rest of the film.
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Fisher King (Widescreen) by Terry Gilliam (DVD - 2001)
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