Friday, March 19, 2010


This is the weirdest Canadian film I've seen mostly because it's directed by Terry Gilliam. In all fairness, I've never understood what makes him such a reference in filmmaking. Perhaps, Tideland might lead to some answers. Here's my theory: most people might not like the fact that Gilliam relies a lot on imageries rather than on what traditional movie lovers want.

In order to cope with the death of her parents (Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Tilly) from drug overdose, Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferlan) escapes in an imaginary land that only exists in her mind. Moreover, she does that with the head of different dolls she puts on her fingertip. During her journey into her world, Jeliza-Rose meets and befriends her two neighbours: Dell (Janet McTeer), a woman who is blind from one eye, and Dickens (Brendan Fletcher), Dell's mentally challenged brother.

Some might feel that Tideland's script is as thin as Wong Kar-Wai's 2046. While these two films quickly introduces us to their respective premise at the beginning, they use the remaining minutes of their length to catapult us into their leading character's world.

Honestly, in Tideland, the world crafted by Gilliam's vision might not seem as ensnaring as the one in 2046. Nonetheless, Gilliam's focus on Jeliza-Rose's make-believe world for the three quarters of the film is rather effective. Until the very unpredictable ending, the film manages to make us wonder if Jeliza-Rose will get out of her own world or go into the real world.

Finally, this film hasn't necessarily transformed me into a fan of Terry Gilliam. However, let's render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. In fact, Tideland - with its humorous, disgusting and dark tones - is an intriguing film about the power of imagination. Of course, many might not necessarily like the film, but there's one thing that we can all agree on: Jodelle Ferlan certainly deserved her nomination for the Genie Award (the Canadian Oscar) of best actress in a leading role. In fact, I don't remember seeing an actress who has so skillfuly depicted the pursuit of thrill that characterizes a child.

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin:Canada/UK (2005)
Length:120 minutes
Screenplay:Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni
Director:Terry Gilliam
Starring:Jodelle Ferlan, Brendan Fletcher and Janet McTeer

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