Movie Review - The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Gilliam hasn't directed a whole lot of films, given that he's been working in and out of Hollywood since the late 60's, but he was really in his height in the 80's and 90's. This film from him isn't as bold or as visionary as his work in those decades, works like Brazil (1985) or Twelve Monkeys (1995), but this film like most of his works does possess great production design and camerawork, as well as a great sense of humor that means this film, which perhaps runs too long, still is never boring or uninteresting even when dealing with a very familiar source material.
It's not sure what Gilliam had intended when he first conceived this project 30 years ago, but, if one is familiar with all the ups and downs that have occurred to Gilliam in relation to this project, then what we see on screen now is a perfect metaphor or encapsulation of what Gilliam experienced in those 30 years. In some ways, this film has become autobiographical. It's not totally so. It's more like he put aspects of his experience within the framework of Cervantes' story.
Much like William Friedkin's Bug (2007), this film is very much an exploration of the idea of folie à deux. This film, however, isn't as dark as Friedkin's thriller. Gilliam is making a comedy about this so-called mental illness. It could be representative of how a person's work, especially his art, can be all-consuming until he becomes the thing he creates, in this case literally. Otherwise, it's about how a man can be swept up into the fantasies or delusions of another. It can also be about how people can see what they want to see in desperate situations, as mechanisms of survival. This is obviously not a new concept, but the fanciful and funny way in which Gilliam wields it here makes it quite entertaining.
Not Rated but contains some language.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 12 mins.
Available on DVD and VOD.