The first trailer for Terry Gilliam’s long-troubled but finally-completed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote arrives at an awkward time. I think its release was probably timed to coincide with the first information we’re receiving about Cannes, which is when the film was expected to premiere. However, the film is currently tied up in litigation and doesn’t look to be debuting any time soon. Oh well. At least we’re finally seeing footage of it, right?
After literally decades of trying, Gilliam managed to complete the film with stars Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver, along with Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko, and Oscar Jaenada. Driver’s role as an exec sent back in time and mistaken for Don Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza has had Johnny Depp, Jack O’Connell, and Ewan McGregor cast previously. None of them are involved with the film in any capacity now.
This looks gorgeous and surreal like most of Gilliam’s movies do, but it also looks like the kind of film that will go mostly ignored by the public at large…also like most of Gilliam’s movies. I think getting it done and released is the accomplishment here, not box office or even good critical reviews. Sad that the bar is so low but that’s what happens when a movie takes 30 years.
Watch the trailer below followed by the unnecessarily long synopsis.
SYNOPSIS: Once upon a time, Toby was an idealistic young film student. His great achievement, a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. But that was then; these days he is a jaded, arrogant and over-sexed commercials director. Money and glamour have derailed him, and now he juggles his boss’s wife Jacqui, a biblical storm and his own ego as he tries to complete a new commercial shoot in Spain. Until a mysterious Gypsy approaches him with an ancient copy of Toby’s student film: Toby is moved and sets off to find the little village where he made his primary opus all those years ago. To Toby’s horror, his little film has had a terrible effect on the sleepy village; Angelica, the young girl who was innocence personified, now works as a high class call-girl, and the old man who played Quixote has now gone completely mad, believing he really is the ‘Knight of the Mournful Countenance’. A series of accidents leads to a fire that threatens to destroy the village. The police come for Toby, but he is ‘rescued’ by the deluded old man, who, mistaking him for his loyal squire Sancho, leads Toby away into the countryside on the quest for his perfect lady, Dulcinea. On their quest, Toby comes face to face with demons, both real and imagined, modern and medieval. Damsels are rescued, jousts are fought, giants are slain and women have beards! Reality and fantasy blur on this bizarre road trip which leads to a phantasmagorical finale.