Tideland (15)

Film

Fantasy films

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Time Out says

Terry Gilliam has had a tough run of luck in recent years, with the sad demise of his long-gestating Don Quixote project (captured in the documentary ‘Lost in La Mancha’) and the poor reception for his Miramax-funded ‘The Brothers Grimm’. ‘Tideland’ seemed a promising candidate to break the director’s slump: a low-budget, wholly independent effort shot in Saskatchewan, shepherded by producer extraordinaire Jeremy Thomas and starring the likes of Jeff Bridges and Janet McTeer. Alas, the movie does not signal the career renaissance that Gilliam’s
fans are craving, though it glints here and there with traces of his tearaway brilliance.

Co-scripted by Gilliam and Tony Grisoni from the book by Mitch Cullin, ‘Tideland’ imagines a modern Alice in a trash-palace Wonderland, framed in Gilliam’s patented low-angle, off-kilter shots – at one point, the camera all but keels over sideways. Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland) is de facto caretaker of her no-hope parents (Bridges and Jennifer Tilly); the girl even preps daddy’s heroin fixes. After mum’s unlamented demise, father and daughter decamp to a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere, where it becomes painfully clear that Jeliza-Rose’s fecund fantasy world – she keeps up a running conversation with her often hostile entourage of four doll’s heads – is a necessary escape from the mounting squalor and horror of her waking life. Gilliam’s brash disregard for conventional narrative rhythms and structures is one of the many thrills of his best work, but here his freewheeling navigations veer so far off-road that the passenger is left exhausted and bewildered, not least by the blasts of literally flatulent humour.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Aug 11, 2006

Duration:

122 mins

Cast and crew

Screenwriter:

Tony Grisoni, Terry Gilliam

Art Director:

Anastasia Masaro

Cast:

Jodelle Ferland, Brendan Fletcher, Janet McTeer, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly

Director:

Terry Gilliam

Production Designer:

Jasna Stefanovic

Producer:

Jeremy Thomas, Gabriella Martinelli

Editor:

Lesley Walker

Cinematography:

Nicola Pecorini

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Greg Cameron

If to be great is to be misunderstood, Terry Gilliam is very great indeed. I have not seen one Gilliam film that has not received ambivalent reviews and this is certainly no exception. "Tideland" is a profoundly sad and disturbing film that will stay in your brain longer than any twenty pieces of Hollywood piffle you can name. As with many other Gilliam films, there is an implicit dichotomy in this movie between everyday reality and the imagination(of course, Gilliam has long waved the rebel banner of Imagination). Unlike other Gilliam films, however, the everyday world is just as strange and disorienting as the imaginary world in this film. One would swear Gilliam has been reading some Bakhtin. However, unlike many other Gilliam films, there is a deep existential sadness at the heart of this movie - if you don't sense it, you lay false claim to human emotions. This movie is a wrenching and saddening experience. Critics of Gilliam often claim his love of the irrational leads to formal incoherence in this films - they do not 'cohere.' This is an aesthetic prejudice with deep roots in high culture - one with which I take strong issue. Regardless, I think form and content in "Tideland" come together to create a richly beautiful/horrible world that is truly strange in the best possible sense of the adjective and even at times is joltingly funny. The movie is, to me, an implicit rebuke to all those who would dismiss Gilliam as a financially reckless cinematic trickster. The lead actress here manages an extremely difficult role with a grace well above her years. This film will haunt you forever. My profound respect goes out to Mr. Gilliam. Your fight to bring your aesthetic vision to the world is well worth the troubles and the disappointments. Greg Cameron, Surrey, B.C., Canada

Greg Cameron

If to be great is to be misunderstood, Terry Gilliam is very great indeed. I have not seen one Gilliam film that has not received ambivalent reviews and this is certainly no exception. "Tideland" is a profoundly sad and disturbing film that will stay in your brain longer than any twenty pieces of Hollywood piffle you can name. As with many other Gilliam films, there is an implicit dichotomy in this movie between everyday reality and the imagination(of course, Gilliam has long waved the rebel banner of Imagination). Unlike other Gilliam films, however, the everyday world is just as strange and disorienting as the imaginary world in this film. One would swear Gilliam has been reading some Bakhtin. However, unlike many other Gilliam films, there is a deep existential sadness at the heart of this movie - if you don't sense it, you lay false claim to human emotions. This movie is a wrenching and saddening experience. Critics of Gilliam often claim his love of the irrational leads to formal incoherence in this films - they do not 'cohere.' This is an aesthetic prejudice with deep roots in high culture - one with which I take strong issue. Regardless, I think form and content in "Tideland" come together to create a richly beautiful/horrible world that is truly strange in the best possible sense of the adjective and even at times is joltingly funny. The movie is, to me, an implicit rebuke to all those who would dismiss Gilliam as a financially reckless cinematic trickster. The lead actress here manages an extremely difficult role with a grace well above her years. This film will haunt you forever. My profound respect goes out to Mr. Gilliam. Your fight to bring your aesthetic vision to the world is well worth the troubles and the disappointments. Greg Cameron, Surrey, B.C., Canada

David

When I hired this film, I was expecting a US version of something between Pan's Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland, but realised about twenty minutes into this film that it's a stinking pile of, well, something. Warning: spoilers ahead. The spiel on the dvd box mentioned that the girl creates a fantasy world illuminated by animated talking dolls heads, magical fireflies, and emotionally rich characters. The sight of the girl talking to the dolls and then wagging her finger up and down while talking back to herself had me in hysterics: Matt Stone and Trey Parker by comparison are artistic masters with their animated teacher and talking twig 'puppet'. The sight of Jeff Bridges rotting away after the first twenty minutes and then being preserved through having his hide stuffed was appalling, The two characters the girl meets and befriends would be safely locked away in a nuthouse in the real world - as rich as their personalities are, they're complete nutters. This was one of the few films that I turned off about an hour in: I love creative license, but not when a director has tried to paint something crap the colour of gold to hide its nature.

Robert

I thought this move was brilliant and definitely not another cheesy Hollywood Movie. When you think of what it takes for movie to get a good rating it has it all including talented actors, a good plot (From the book Tideland) and good direction via Terry Gilliam. It was shot using the super 35 MM process with most outdoor scenes shot using a Twelve MM Wide Angle Lens. The musical score was original and was wonderful. They took full use of Digital Dolby 5.1 technology including wide dynamic range and frequency response. The theme is about a young girl Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland - about 10 years old in the movie) who was born a crack-baby. Her parents eventually die of there drug habits and she is left alone to shift for herself. The movie was shot from the eyes of this 10 old girl. She has a vivid imagination and puts it to good use by having thoughtful mature conversations with doll heads. She actually uses her own voice for the doll head conversations. She meets a twenty year old retarded man named Dickens (Brendan Fletcher) who has a mental capacity similar in age to Jeliza-Rose. Jeliza-Rose has a flirtatious relationship with Dickens but, it does not cross the line. Jodelle is a beautiful, intelligent and talented young actress. I believe she has a great future in the film industry. After reading other reviews, I agree with others in that you either love it or hate it. I loved it. It will go down as one of my most favorite movies of all time. Each time I watch it I get more out of it. It is too bad that we have so many narrow minded people out there who are afraid of watching a movie like this. I believe that there is a pedophile phobia in the US and the media fans these flames along with the religious zealots have a field day with it.

Robert

I thought this move was brilliant and definitely not another cheesy Hollywood Movie. When you think of what it takes for movie to get a good rating it has it all including talented actors, a good plot (From the book Tideland) and good direction via Terry Gilliam. It was shot using the super 35 MM process with most outdoor scenes shot using a Twelve MM Wide Angle Lens. The musical score was original and was wonderful. They took full use of Digital Dolby 5.1 technology including wide dynamic range and frequency response. The theme is about a young girl Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland - about 10 years old in the movie) who was born a crack-baby. Her parents eventually die of there drug habits and she is left alone to shift for herself. The movie was shot from the eyes of this 10 old girl. She has a vivid imagination and puts it to good use by having thoughtful mature conversations with doll heads. She actually uses her own voice for the doll head conversations. She meets a twenty year old retarded man named Dickens (Brendan Fletcher) who has a mental capacity similar in age to Jeliza-Rose. Jeliza-Rose has a flirtatious relationship with Dickens but, it does not cross the line. Jodelle is a beautiful, intelligent and talented young actress. I believe she has a great future in the film industry. After reading other reviews, I agree with others in that you either love it or hate it. I loved it. It will go down as one of my most favorite movies of all time. Each time I watch it I get more out of it. It is too bad that we have so many narrow minded people out there who are afraid of watching a movie like this. I believe that there is a pedophile phobia in the US and the media fans these flames along with the religious zealots have a field day with it.