A review of this — 4 years ago
Gilliam, as a member of the Python troupe, has always been great at funny and quirky, of which this film certainly has its moments. In the Fisher King though, Gilliam shows that he can handle other emotions with equal adeptness and with more subtlety than his previous films. The first 9 min. and 2 secs. of this film are a brilliant setup for what follows and Gilliam doesn’t dissappoint with the rest of the film. He still manages to get some of his trademark visuals in, but has really seemed to refine his filmmaking skills with this flcik and continues to do so to this day (12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing, Tideland…) There are some extraordinany sequences (like the waltz in Grand Central Station) that amaze me when I think about Gilliams beginnings as the animator and token American of Python ( and clapping together those freaking coconuts in The Holy Grail.) As for Williams performance, I have to say that this is one of my favorites. I’ve always liked him better in the roles where he gets to show some depth in his acting abilities. Not everyone agrees; one of my fellow ‘consumers’ longs for the younger, coked up Williams. Now that I think of it, that’s what I kept saying to myself while watching Awakenings. “Shucks, this movie would be HILARIOUS if only Robin Williams was strung out. Maybe more of a Patch Adams in a Mental Hospital kind of thing.” Seriously though, this movie wasn’t intended to be a Robin Williams stand up routine, nor was it intended to be one of those screwball comedies that Hollywood churns out for the mindless masses that think Maritn Lawrence is actually funny. The comedy is more subtle, and the performances have depth, particularly Jeff Bridges. Of course I believe he is one of the most under appreciated actors out there. Great movie.