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The Fisher King Review

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After one of his listeners opens fire on a bar, shock-DJ Jack is demoted to a life working in a record store, when he is taken by thugs and rescued by a homeless hero. As a return for the favour, Parry enlists Jack's help to retreivine the Holy Grail and woe the object of his desire.

★★★★

The camera swoops down from the ceiling to concentrate on the head of chain-smoking, pony-tailed Jack Lucas (Bridges) as he hurls frantic abuse at a caller. He's a mega-successful Manhattan "shock DJ" and in line for his own TV sitcom - until one night his world falls apart when one frustrated listener to his show opens fire in a bar, killing several people.

Three years on, Jack's life has dramatically changed, he's working in a video store with girlfriend (Ruehl) and drinking enough to end up in a sodden heap one night, only to be rescued from a bunch of thugs by Parry (Williams), a homeless knight-in-dirty-clothes with a fascination for the Holy Grail (this is a Terry Gilliam film, after all). In return for saving him, Parry wants Jack to retrieve the Holy Grail for him (it's in the hands of a Fifth Avenue businessman), and although Jack clearly believes Parry is crazy, the two form an uneasy alliance, with Jack helping Parry in his other quest - to finally meet the woman he has been worshipping each day from afar, Lydia (Plummer). But nothing is ever easy, and Parry is haunted by a threatening vision of the Red Knight, a fire-breathing monster that chases him, spectacularly galloping through Central Park.

A mixture of fantasy and everyday melodrama, The Fisher King is certainly, in comparison with Baron Munchausen or Brazil, one of Gilliam's more conventional movies, but it is peppered with some extraordinarily vivid set pieces - a scene in Grand Central Station where Parry spots Lydia and all the commuters suddenly begin to waltz around her is amazing to look at - and boasts four-star performances from both Bridges and Ruehl. Although there are moments when the mixture of comedy, fantasy and drama don't come off - when Williams occasionally reverts to his comedy routine his character becomes less believable - this is still an original, touching movie that is well worth the price of a ticket.

Although there are moments when the mixture of comedy, fantasy and drama don't come off, this is still an original, touching movie that is well worth the price of a ticket.