The Fisher King is a 1991 American drama film starring Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Amanda Plummer, and Mercedes Rhuel which follows a former radio talk show host (Bridges) who falls into harsh times and befriends a homeless man, Parry, who claims to be on a quest for the Holy Grail in New York City. Directed by Terry Gilliam, written by Richard LeGravenese. (Running Time: 138 minutes)(Rated R for language and violence)
A stylish, excellently acted quest for friendship and love! Terry Gilliam’s quirky, unique twist in the director’s chair is, as always, a very different way of storytelling altogether! A former Monty Python member (the only one not from the United Kingdom), Gilliam’s directing credits had already included the popular Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail (1975), Jabbywocky (1977), and Brazil (1985)! And in The Fisher King, he decided to prove his talents in this strong drama.
The story opens to show us a Howard Stern-like DJ who is popular and successful for a Manhattan radio show, but his career takes a sudden turn for the worst and he ends up running a video store with his quirky, oddly sophisticated girlfriend, Anne (Rhuel). Drunkenly wandering the town, he is mistaken for a city bum by two punks who decide to beat him and set him on fire, but he is saved by several other freeloaders, one of them being the crazed Parry, who claims to be a Knight on a quest for the Holy Grail, and tells (Bridges) that he is the One. This leads them on crazy, humerous adventures around the big city, establishing a silly friendship, but not sealed until Parry’s hurtful past is revealed.
Perhaps one of the best qualities of the film is the acting. The story was certainly crafted to be a challenge for any actors who wanted to take on any of the four major characters–for the entire movie is formed around the four main actors and their lives and relationships with one another. So to applaud the chemistry of the four seems appropriate at this time. *Applause*
Okay, the main man I want to talk about is Robin Williams. Gosh, what a great actor! His versitility, tenderness, humor, and energy are all so outstanding and impossible to reach! The role of Parry was fit for a man only Williams could play, and it took the chance out of the park! Parry’s unusual mannerisms and catatonic behavior were so well performed and timed, that he was just bouncing off walls here and there! Robin Williams certainly stole the show! But I do not mean that he stepped on the toes of the other three. Technically, Jeff Bridges had much more screen time and made some excellent reactions and faces that I have never seen him use before! The two girls were so fun to watch, too!
Just a great cast in general is all I can say…
The movie was a critical success on its initial release, gaining five Academy Award nominations including Best Actor for Robin Williams, and winning one for Best Supporting Actress for Mercedes Rhuel! It did not to shavy at the box office as well, meeting a modest $41 million on a little of a $20 million budget.
Oh, in the long run, I shall give this piece of good ol’ movie makin’ 5 out of 7 stars. If the original Gilliam style sets you off immediately into the film, give it a chance. It all tells the story in a better way in the long run. And watching the four of these actors tell the story is just so chemical!