By Timothy Guy
By Timothy Guy
Once upon a time…
“The Brothers Grimm” takes the real life brothers and writers of such fairy tale classics such as “Cinderella” and “Snow White” and throws them into the world of their own imagination. The brothers Grimm are not writers, yet, but rather con men who play on legends and folk tales to extort money from various villages.
Their reputation is legendary as they have “saved” many people and places from evil witches and trolls. Jacob, played by Heath Ledger (“The Patriot”), believes in magic beans and that fantasy might just not be make believe. His brother Wilhem, played by Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting”), is more serious and is fully grounded in reality. When several children go missing in a French occupied German village, the government assumes it must be the work of con men like the Grimm brothers. Naturally the best course of action is to send in one set of con men to figure out what is going on. After a short while the brothers find out this is no con, but a real deal magical curse.
The story is entertaining and does not slow down much. Writer Ehran Kruger (“The Ring”) tries to throw in little hints of various fairy tales into the story as visual Easter eggs. The story and script do play out like a fairy tale, which in this context make it perfectly fine.
The acting is where this movie hits a snag. Everyone puts in a performance that is cranked up to 11. Ledger seems to be playing Brad Pitt’s character from “12 Monkeys” in the way he talks and moves around. Peter Stormare (“Fargo”), who seems to be able to play any nationality, goes seriously overboard as the interrogator Cavaldi, who is sent to watch over the brothers as they work. The character is overused and shoved down the audience’s throats every time he is on the screen.
The art direction is amazing and beautiful. The director, Terry Gilliam (“Brazil” and the Monty Python films), knows what he is doing and that comes across very clear on the screen. The only drawback to the visuals of this film is the overuse of bad CGI. Because a lot of the film’s look was done with sets and props, when the CGI is added it looks out of place. Case in point, the scarf flying through the forest. The forest looked so real and alive that a computer generated scarf flying through it stood out as being fake.
Overall the film is worth seeing. Yes, some of the story and acting is over the top, but it is a film about fairy tales after all.
It is also not a film for children as there are decapitations, gun shots, stabbings and plenty of other scary elements. Adults might enjoy this, but children might not need the nightmares this film could cause.