The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Impossible dream/nightmare

Back in 2002, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe made an excellent “un-making of” documentary called Lost in La Mancha about Terry Gilliam’s first, disastrous attempt to make this film. The production, starring Johnny Depp, was from the beginning plagued with every imaginable misfortune, from military overflights and uncooperative weather to personal conflicts and a borderline senile lead.

Now that film has finally been made, and, yes, it’s a mess. But a glorious, witty, disturbing, charming, magnificent mess. 

Gilliam (Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys), has been called “a poet of decay,” and at some point in this movie you just have to stop trying to figure out what’s going on, sit back, and go with the flow. And you have to admire the ridiculous amount of effort he put into this, not to mention persistence. 

I won’t recount the plot; indeed I’m not sure I can. But briefly, a filmmaker visiting Spain to film the Cervantes classic (Adam Driver) enters a time-tripping funhouse mirror world when a mad Spanish cobbler who believes himself to be Don Quixote declares the director to be his Sancho Panza. Or something. 

You may be perplexed, but you will not be bored.

January 24 (132 min)