Movie Review – The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Director: Terry Gilliam

Stars: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Headey, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce, Monica Bellucci

The Brothers Grimm attempts to pull the curtain back on the famous writers. When the film starts, Jacob (Ledger) and Will (Damon) are con artists who use the fear of fantastic creatures to pry silver away from unsuspecting people. However, there are rumours of disappearing children near a village so they are ordered by the French army to go and find out what’s going on, and the truth will test their courage as well as their wits.

I normally like twists on fairytales and the premise of this film interested me. The result, however, bored me. Although I like Damon and Ledger as actors for some reason their usual charisma didn’t come through here and Stormare was far too over the top. Headey was good as Angelika, but she’s absent for most of the last third of the film and I feel this was a waste as she was a strong presence and provided a good counterpoint to the cowardice shown by the Grimms.

The main problem I had with The Brothers Grimm is that it doesn’t know what film it wants to be. At some points it is very dark with some horrific scenes while at other times it’s cartoonish and the tones just aren’t meshed well. As a result it feels like a patchwork almost, and there’s something ineffable missing. It also feels bloated. I think it could have been streamlined by cutting out the French military and Stormare’s character completely.

It picked up towards the end and a couple of surprising twists actually caught my attention, but these were quickly undone, sucking out any unpredictability. The effects were a mixed bag as well. Some of them, like the cracked mirror bit, looked really cool, while others looked fake and you could really tell it was CGI (the child getting sucked down a horses’ throat is one example).

The premise is cool and the actors are talented but for some reason it just doesn’t come together. I liked the references to other fairytales but I can’t recommend it at all. This is one to avoid.

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