Review Date: April 01, 2003
Director: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Writer: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Producers: Lucy Darwin
Terry Gilliam as himself
Johnny Depp as himself
Jeff Bridges as Narrator
For the director Gilliam, the strain of the day-to-day bad news eventually wears him down and much like the reputed Orson Welles and his life-long dream of the cinematic Don Quixote, it ultimately doesn't appear as though this production will be completed either. Basically, it's every director's worst nightmare come alive and as a major movie buff, it was fascinating experience to watch, especially in terms of the actual production details, the behind-the-scenes head-butting and of course...the scenes featuring the ultra-super-cool, Johnny Depp. One thing that I would have liked more in the documentary though would have been a greater explanation as to the responsibilities of each person. As is, it almost felt like nobody was ever in control of the film, or taking responsibility for their actions/inactions. That frustrated me as a viewer because I really wanted to dissect why the project started falling apart as it did. I understand that certain "force majeures" hit the production, but whose responsibility was it to cover their ass in that sort of case? Who was the person who had to make sure that there were no planes flying overhead? Who was the person who had to guarantee the contract with Vanessa Paradis, so that everyone knew when she was arriving? Who was supposed to train the horses, or hire the person to train the horses? Even though the director is ultimately responsible for the creative push of a film, I don't believe that all of these responsibilities fell directly upon Gilliam's shoulders, and I really would have liked to have been given more info on those matters.
In other words, this documentary goes a long way in providing us with an "entertaining" 90 minutes of a production gone terribly awry, but not so much in terms of the persons responsible for it and ways to avoid it in the future (maybe some sit-down interviews with all of the responsibles afterwards might've worked?). And I do appreciate that this film's point was to somehow illustrate that this was all part of the Don Quixote "curse", but that part was just a little too "touchy-feely" for me (can you tell that I'm a business graduate?) Give me some solid facts, figures and point some fingers, dammit! The film is "fun" to watch though with some of my favorite scenes including the one in which director Gilliam puts his balls on the chopping block and essentially threatens to quit if the producers fire his right-hand man as they seemed to be suggesting, as well as the one in which Johnny Depp is talking to a fish. Yeah, you read that correctly. It's a great sequence and provides just enough insight into Gilliam's mind to look forward to seeing the film eventually get made one day. Unfortunately for us, it doesn't appear as though there were enough karmic guides around the man this time around, so that he could channel his "love of chaos" into a completed motion picture. Luckily for us, it doesn't appear as though Gilliam has completely given up on the project yet, so who knows, maybe someday we'll see a sequel to this documentary entitled LOST IN LA MANCHA 2: THE GUY'S STILL TRYING TO FILM THE DAMN THING!