What do you get when you toss Barbarella, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blade Runner, and The Life of Brian in a blender and hit the switch? You get a movie like Brazil, Terry Gilliam’s 1985 satirical mind trip about... well, we’re still trying to figure out what it’s about — but we like it.
That’s why we’re stoked about the newest trailer for Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, since it’s further evidence that the Monty Python alum’s long-gestating funny fantasy is finally ready for takeoff.
It helps that the new trailer suggests a movie that’s smart, slapstick fun, and anchored by a cast that looks fully invested in playing with the premise: producing an ambitious movie about one of literature’s most ambitious books (which itself is about ambition), only to get bogged down by the principal actor’s vain conflation of identities: Don Quixote’s versus his own.
Check out the mildly NSFW trailer (Adam Driver drops an F-bomb), then we’ll pick it up after you've soaked it all up.
The cast looks great, with Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård, Olga Kurylenko, and more bouncing off the screen with the zany energy Gilliam’s movies rely on to sell their absurdist commentary.
Also great are the setting and effects, which adapt the iconic fantasy elements of Cervantes’ story for the big screen in what looks to be a pretty appealing way. Sweeping vistas, castles, giants, and windmills both medieval and modern — they’re all here, giving the movie a big-budget backdrop usually reserved for films that veer closer to the somber than the silly.
From what we’ve seen so far, The Man who Killed Don Quixote looks like it’s doing with benign satire what other movies (like Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo) have tried to do with stoic, stone-faced character studies: exposing the hubris that sets in when self-styled visionaries chase their fervid ideals beyond the pale — and rigidly expect everyone around them to follow.
With the film’s long development hell hopefully behind it, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is slated to finally makes its debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival on May 19. In keeping with its troubled pedigree, there’s a pending lawsuit over intellectual property rights that could threaten the premiere — but, like Quixote himself, we’re staying optimistic.