Directed by Terry Gilliam. USA. 2005.

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Sitting in the theatre, waiting for "The Brother's Grimm" to start, a couple's conversation started reverberating off the walls. Impossible not to listen really, as the two were discussing the impending movie at a decibel level that would have been appropriate if one of them were in Cleveland.After alternating between trying not to listen, and praying for a meteor to crash into the theatre, I took actual notes on the conversation...

MAN: I hear that there really were people who wrote stories called Grimm. Is this a true story?
WOMAN: Oh no, there were no Brothers Grimm. Walt Disney wrote all those stories. The Brothers Grimm stole their stories from Disney. Didn't you hear about that lawsuit in California last week?
MAN: No....MAN, if they were stealing stories from Disney, I bet they got in TROUBLE. Brothers Grimm ain't got NO money left.

If you can imagine.

I was quite excited to see The Brothers Grimm, as it not only featured two of my favourite actors (Matt Damon, and Heath Ledger) but was a new work of art from one of my favorite directors, Mr. Terry Gilliam. Most out there will know that name from his work on Monty Python's Flying Circus, but Gilliam is also an incredible film director. Gilliam creates incredible works of art on his every outing. Every piece of his films are obviously meticulously planned, down to a character's shoelace size and colour. Gilliam helming a film featuring actors of the calibre of Damon and Ledger was something to be excited about. After seeing the film I have this to say; Be warned that the previews make this movie seem like a light-hearted romp across fairy tale land. It isn't.

Brothers Grimm. All rights reserved.The Brothers Grimm is the story of the two famous writers making money off poor, misled, villages. The brothers and their band of miscreants come popping in to village after village, create a monster/witch/ghost to scare the local population. Then they come in and remove it. For a hefty price of course. Then their past catches up with them, the brothers are arrested,and are marched off to a French village to deal with an entity abducting the local children. Only problem? They didn't create this monster....

Matt Damon (Dogma, Good Will Hunting) plays Wilhelm Grimm. Damon's talents are put to perfect use here, creating a complex character in the slightly showier brother. Damon manages to carry off a character that is pompous in public, making him charming, and magnetic around those he would decieve. Damon can then switch to a completely different private persona with his brother, dropping the arrogance, and adding a flair for creativity, with touches of fear, showing the chinks in his image of armour.  Damon has created a beautifully flawed hero, who was a joy to watch.

Heath Ledger (A Knight's Tale, Four Feathers) plays Jacob Grimm, the more sensitive brother. Ledger's generously shines brightly in the background as the quieter, more creative brother. Ledger's more subtle portrayal, is no less skilled then Damon's. Ledger makes his brother shy, strong and sweet. You root for him as the underdog. Whether he's sweeping an angry woman quietly off her feet, or fighting off an evil queen, Ledger steals every scene in a quietly understated, skillfull performance.

The Brothers Grimm is an amazing movie. It is however, VERY dark. Gilliam's images are beautiful, but at times lean towards haunting and a bit graphic. The story is very well written, the acting fantastic, the directing sublime. However,due to it's violence, frightening imagery, and perilous, detailed situations that the children in this movie find themselves in, I would recommend extreme caution before taking a younger child to see this film. This is NOT a movie for younger children. 

Apropriate Ages: 13 and up
Parental Warning Bells: INTENSE action/ Graphic violence/ Horror fantasy images/ Children in peril/
Animal deaths
Parental Film Barometer: If your child has seen "Snow White: A Tale of Terror," or Tim Burton's "Sleepy
Hollow" they should have no problem with this one.

Jen Johnston
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