Runstedler’s DVD Pick of the Month: The Fisher King

The Fisher King is a remarkable film directed by Terry Gilliam which stars Jeff Bridges as an arrogant radio DJ who meets a quixotic homeless man. Bridges plays Jack Lucas, whose on-air remarks prompt a tragic shooting. Among the casualties is Parry’s (Williams) wife, who is killed right in front of him. Lucas is in a downward spiral after this, battling depression and suicide, and he is rescued by Parry after an unpleasant encounter with some of the street hoodlums. Parry takes him on a journey beyond his distorted Arthurian reality.

They connect over their hurt and frustration, and through their friendship they learn what love truly is. It’s a beautiful story, poignant and deeply felt. The ending seemed a bit unrealistic, considering we’re dealing with a quixotic character here, but hey, it’s Robin Williams. He can do anything! I was really intrigued by the depiction of the quixotic character in this film. Gilliam is fascinated by Quixote and what Cervantes’ character says about the world around us and within us. As you dig beneath the surface of this film, what you find is much more than a comedy-drama film. You see and feel the horrors of the human psyche and what it’s capable of in this film, but you also feel a passion and greatness of human spirit that transcends all. It’s a story of redemption, but it’s told in such a compelling manner that it engages you from start to finish. I’ve always admired Gilliam’s aesthetical approach to film and his appreciation for the bizarre, and this film delivers all of that. You have the flaming evil knight on demonic horseback, wild Williams shenanigans and so much more. The characters are so fascinating and their emotions are so real, and this is all supported by a great story. I’ve been searching for my own Holy Grail in Gilliam’s filmography for years, and I think that I’ve finally found it in The Fisher King. My quest is complete.


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