Movie Review: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

I wanted to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus because it's Heath Ledger's last movie project. I was quite pleased to find that the trippy, surreal film is more than Ledger's final film.

The movie is about Dr. Parnassus (played by Christopher Plummer) and his traveling theater troupe in the style of a 19th century caravan show. The show's main attraction is the Imaginarium, a mystical dimension where anyone's imagination will come to life. However, the catch is that at the end of the trip to the Imaginarium, the person inside must make a decision to to give in to temptation or not. The tension on the movie starts when Dr. Parnassus is faced with a must-win wager against the devil.

Enter Heath Ledger's character, Tony. He's a smooth-talking guy who ends up helping Dr. Parnassus recruit people to enter the Imaginarium but ends up getting inside himself. And whenever he goes inside, he somehow changes his appearance depending on who he's with. Tony is played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell on different occasions, and I reckon this is to make the story work after Heath Ledger's death two years ago.

As I've mentioned, the movie is surreal has lots of visually-rich scenes. Imagine how an LSD-induced hallucination would look like, that's what the movie packs. The story gets muddled in the switching between dimensions and the ending is anti-climactic if you ask me. However, the presence of on-screen eye candy (like Lily Cole and the actors playing Tony) may offset the deficiencies to some audiences.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is Heath Ledger's last film and it's a decent farewell. It's not The Dark Knight, but it's good enough.

Rating: 3.5/5

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