First of all, why are all the posters for this so ugly? This is the most decent-looking poster released for this film.
Doctor Parnasus, leader of a travelling performance troupe, is a centuries old mystic who has the ability to enter minds via a magic mirror that allows you to escape into your imagination and to live out your fantasies. Once in the mirror, you make a choice: to side with stories & imagination (Parnassus) or with addiction & desire (the devil). He’s made several bets with the devil over the years. –immortality by winning one, losing his daughter, Valentina, on her 16th birthday by losing another. The devil makes him another deal — First to five souls gets Valentina.
The visuals in this film are stunning with such attention to detail. The wardrobe and costumes especially were gorgeous. I LOVED Christopher Plummer as Parnassus. His performance was both heartfelt and heart breaking and I lost count of the times I just wanted to walk up to the screen and give him a hug.
When Heath Ledger died mid-production, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farell were cast to play Heath’s character, Tony, while inside the Imaginarium. I think it helped that I didn’t know they were replacing Heath before watching, because the transitions from Heath to the other actors didn’t seem too jarring to me. The storytelling, however, I found a little disjointed. The plot had great potential, but it seemed to me like a bunch of smaller stories put together to make one big one without a resolution. It took me a while to tie everything together.
Also on an insensitive note, as a final film I thought this was anti-climactic for Heath Ledger. His performance in the Dark Knight left a much stronger impression on me than his performance here.
Negatives aside, it’s a wonderful film with rich, gorgeous imagery that fucks with your brain.