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Tideland
DVD disk
Mar 27, 2007 By: Scott Weinberg
Tideland order
Director:
Terry Gilliam

Actors:
Jodelle Ferland
Jeff Bridges
Jennifer Tilly

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A young girl deals with the death of her parents while spending time on an isolated and decrepit farm,
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The surface-deep plot synopsis offered above makes TIDELAND sound like a typical tear-jerker drama ... but it's not. What is IS about depends on what the individual viewer brings to the experience, but as for me ... I didn't much care for it. What some see as a dark and twisted "Alice in Wonderland" deviation I see as a dry, indulgent and gradually irritating experience -- and this is coming from a guy who's called Terry Gilliam his favorite filmmaker for the past fifteen years.

It's not that TIDELAND is too avant-garde or weird for my tastes, but that I found the film a solid chore to sit through. Aside from a truly charming lead performance by little Jodelle Ferland (who also did some fine work in SILENT HILL), there's very little in Gilliam's experiment that'll keep one interested for a full two hours. Much of the film is aesthetically goofy, if only in a "wow, this is like a drugged-out music video with dialogue" sort of way, but the gimmicks wear off long before the running time wears out.

That's not to say that Gilliam aficionados shouldn't give the flick a curious rental one Tuesday night; I've got lots of movie geek pals who think I'm nuts for dismissing TIDELAND so casually. But I've sat through the thing twice now, and while it's true that I found more to "like" the second time around, the truth is I find TIDELAND to be an off-putting and intermittently obnoxious movie. I don't think I'd necessarily call it a "bad" film, but I do know it doesn't really work for me.

THE EXTRAS
On disc 1 you'll find a brief introduction from director Terry Gilliam, and the filmmaker then joins screenwriter Tony Grisoni for a predictably excellent audio commentary. (I say "predictably" because Gilliam always gives good commentary!)

Flipping over to disc 2 you'll be greeted by a pretty darn solid bunch of goodies: The 45-minute "Getting Gilliam" featurette comes from CUBE director Vincenzo Natali, and is absolutely worth a look. Plus the mini-doco comes complete with a Gilliam/Natali audio commentary. Neat. Next up are a pair of mini-featurettes (a promo piece and an FX piece), nearly fifteen minutes of interviews with Gilliam and producer Jeremy Thomas, six minutes worth of deleted scenes, and the original theatrical trailer.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I'm convinced that, given how many years of enjoyment I've derived from Mr. Gilliam's movies, that I must give TIDELAND yet another chance a few years down the road. As things stand now, however, I'd call this Gilliam's weirdest ... and most disappointing.
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