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films and cinemas, under $20

NOT: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon St, Carlton


Before you all gasp at my audacity in giving a NOT to Heath Ledger’s final work, let me preface my review by saying that visually, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is very imaginative and enjoyable.  All the actors, including Heath, looked like they were having a lot of fun making this fantastical roller-coaster of a film. If you don’t need a coherent plot or believable protagonists, this film is for you.

Meanwhile, I’ve been staring at the computer screen for the last twenty minutes trying to decipher the storyline but the best I can come up with is this: travelling sideshow, deal with the devil, immortality, imaginary journeys, midget, beautiful daughter, race to gain five souls.

I give up.

Moving onto other aspects. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is one long Willy Wonka experience – you never know what surprising exploits are waiting just coming around the corner in this candy-coloured world . However, after a while this is no longer exciting, just kind of pointlessly random and then frustrating. I’m also unsure whether some of the deeper themes of the movie – death, loss, pre-destiny and regrets – are really explored well in the movie, so in the end the whole experience just seems like a visually lavish set piece but disappointingly empty.

I think RM’s conclusion sums it up the best: you can admire the ambition, but not the execution.

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