The Hollywood myth about movie making that says harmonious productions free of animosity lead to awful movies and problematic productions filled with behind-the-scenes struggles for control often results in great films. This myth is somewhat true when it comes to director Terry Gilliam’s latest film, “The Brothers Grimm.” This flawed yet uniquely entertaining film shows Gilliam (“12 Monkeys,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”) still has the ability to astound audiences with his outlandish characters and storylines and still get under the skin of studio heads.
Much has been made of Gilliam’s struggles with the Weinstein brothers of Miramax Studios over “The Brothers Grimm” and their interference in the director’s film. Gilliam has accused the Weinsteins of shelving his film for two years and then releasing it in August, a traditional dumping ground for films. The behind-the-scenes battles are nothing new for Gilliam, who through the years has earned a reputation for being difficult. Universal Studios shelved the former Monty Python member’s dystopian epic “Brazil” for months after he refused to edit the film and his fantasy epic “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” about the famed German storyteller, never received a wide release.
Despite all the battles he has waged, Gilliam has been able to produce films that contain his singular vision and his latest is no different. Although the film is entirely Gilliam’s, at times you may wonder whether the film could have used some editing and a more original plot.
The plot of “The Brothers Grimm” is nothing that has not been seen before. The story concerns two famed German storytellers who suddenly become characters in a fairy tale, similar to the ones they tell. Although based on the real-life Grimm brothers who popularized such now famous stories as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Gilliam takes dramatic license with their lives as historical accuracy takes a back seat to fantastical storytelling.
The brothers of the title, Jacob and Will, are 19th century con-men in French-occupied Germany who bilk their fellow Germans out of their money. They go from town to town inventing ghosts and scaring the na