The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Rated 3.0

Heath Ledger was shooting The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when he died in early 2008, and given the shockwave of losing its lead actor, the film’s scattershot shortcomings should be forgivable. Unfortunately, this film was directed by Terry Gilliam, who has made such untenable runaway productions his stock in trade. Gilliam masked the absence of Ledger (who, regardless of circumstances, gives an addled and unfocused performance) by casting Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to play his part in key scenes. It’s a neat idea that almost works, but you get the feeling that Gilliam should have just cast one actor, and made sure that it wasn’t Colin Farrell. Against all odds, the film has its moments, thanks to fine work by Christopher Plummer, the fetching British actress Lily Cole, and Tom Waits as the devilish Mr. Nick.