The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm
Starring: Petr Ratimec, Barbora Lukesová, Anna Rust, Jeremy Robson, Matt Damon
Director: Terry Giliam
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC NTSC
Studio: Mirimaxe
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2005
Run Time: 119 minutes

The Brothers Grimm is a suspenseful light-hearted ghost story in the cinematic tradition of such movies as Pirates of the Caribbean, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Sleepy Hollow. The brothers, played by Heath Ledger and Matt Damon, couldn’t be more enchanting in their roles in this fairy tale movie. Jacob, played by spectacle toting Heath Ledger, is the lovable underdog, an impractical poet who wears his gold heart on his sleeve. Wilhelm of course, couldn’t be more different as the devilishly dashing woman-chasing lead and older brother.

The film is set in French occupied Germany and is quite amusing for history buffs. There, Jacob and Wilhelm have a run in with the French army. They’ve roamed from town to town making up fairy tales, but not only in the story sense! Jacob largely follows Wilhelm around documenting the folk tales of the various villages they weave their `magic’ around. When they are captured, the scenes involving the French general (Jonathan Pryce) are classically macabre in every sense- I don’t want to spoil any surprises so you’ll have to see the movie to find out why. Caravaldi, a captain in that army, played by Peter Stormare, becomes a permanant pest and an unexpected side-kick. The character is completely absurd with an Italian accent, hilarious yet creepy.

With Caravaldi, the brothers find themselves embroiled in a real mystery when all the girls in the village disappear. The townsfolk are strange but the boys eventually warm up to the female lead, Angelika (Lena Headey) who leads them through the forest and tells them of the folk tales of her youth. There’s a little bit of that fairy tale magic mixed in with some European folklore which makes the movie interesting from an anthropological perspective… it makes you wonder what our folktales say of our history. The movie makes us imagine that these fairy or folk tales were real events, documented faithfully by the trusting Jacob. And there in the forest the brothers discover the truth behind the girls’ disappearance, the connection with Angelika’s missing father, and a wolf that has terrorized the forest.

The Brothers Grimm is spooky and maybe a little scary/disturbing for young children but don’t see the movie expecting a thriller- after all the movie is based on Grimm’s fairytales. It’s a lot of fun trying to guess which fairy tale is being alluded to in the various scenes as the Brothers seek to rid village of their haunting. And it is interesting how the movie weaves each story into another. There are great questions as to what is real and what is not… is it supernatural, a trick, magic?

Magic there is, and chemistry too for sure in this entertaining movie. Lovers of fairy tales and ghost stories alike will find themselves falling in love with The Brothers Grimm!

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