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Arthurian mythology and modern day decay seem perfect complements to each other in this Terry Gilliam drama/comedy/fantasy. Shock jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) makes an off-handed radio remark that causes a man to go on a killing spree, leaving Lucas unhinged with guilt. Lucas's later, chance meeting with Parry (Robin Williams), a homeless man suffering from dementia, gets him involved in the unlikely quest for the Holy Grail. The rickety, and patently unrealistic stand that insanity is just a wonderful place to be, and that the homeless are all errant knights, wears awfully thin, but there are numerous moments of sad grace and violent beauty in this film. The screenplay by Richard LaGravenese launched his successful career and his smart wordplay helped garner Mercedes Ruehl an Oscar as Lucas's girlfriend. --Keith Simanton
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"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).Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Please tell me Michael Jeter won an academy award for his portrayal of the gay cabaret singer....wow! What a performance.Published 4 months ago by Kenneth J. Hickey
This movie is highly under-rated. It is an excellent movie that gets better each time I watch it. The first time I saw it I hated it and actually turned it off halfway through. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Peter
Absolutly hands down Terry Gilliams' best picture. When i saw this film in the theater I couldnt believe how Robin Williams could bring out every emotion in me in 10 minutes. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Derek Clark
Robin Williams is A man suffering from post traumatic sress after he witnessed his wife brutality gunned down by a nut who got the idea from onair rantings of a radio talk show... Read morePublished 18 months ago by K. D.
One of Robin Williams best performances. A terrific heart-warming movie.Published 22 months ago by Brian McHugh
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2012 by Nathan J. Scrutton
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. Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by msresp