The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Reviews

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½ November 30, 2019
I would say that this lives up to the classic Gilliam standards with the scoop digging not as deep as Brazil, but deeper than Imaginarium. It's good, but longer at times, and abrupt-ish towards the end.
½ May 14, 2019
"The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" is Terry Gilliam's "The Other Side of the Wind." This bizarre and unconventional comedy, passion project, and production fiasco has been unseen up until now.
½ May 12, 2019
Competes with Fellini's Roma for frantic spectacle. Not a bad story of how the camera can create its own downward spiral either. Agreed it is long and the Russians make little sense other than as generic bad guys, but then that's where we've had them for 60 years now, right? See this on the big screen, it is worth your 130 minutes, and you won't need any mind-altering substances to take this mini-trip.
May 11, 2019
Missing but present, missing a present, presents then misses. But, in missing shows us Don Q who is as CV writes, everpresently amiss.
½ May 7, 2019
Being Terry Gilliam must be like a curse. You get to make movies, but you are doomed to keep making Terry Gilliam movies, despite the whole world trying to stop you. You fight the whole world for 25 years and voila, you've made yet another god damned Terry Gilliam movie, full of quirkiness and rage and shallow romanticism, all of which you did better 30 years ago.

Our "hero" is a successful commercial director who sees a DVD of a movie he made 10 years ago before he sold out, when he had integrity. He goes on a quest and learns that he is selfish. He learns he ruined people's lives. He kills one of them and "saves" another. Despite his selfishness, everything really is about him. Rich people are evil. Women are things. Artists are insane. Isn't it wonderful?
April 29, 2019
Almost fantastic but it takes along time to get going - but once you are in their world it's a lovely fantasy.
½ April 28, 2019
Rough around the edges but starts to become good. Good flick for a project that was in development hell for a while.
April 25, 2019
Stunning both in vision and visually! Some reviewers have complained that it's Gilliam's old plot "fighting for ideals," Others have talked about it's long and painful birth. Still others have complained about the jumping about of scenes. To the contrary, I have found the film not only visually superb, but also timeless in content, and extremely accurate in the repetitive jump/shifts of view and apparent reality as one loses their grip on conventional reality or even sanity. This last is a feature, and not a problem.
April 25, 2019
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has been in and out of production almost as long as I've been alive, and its extensive tenure in development Hell is all too evident. Terry Gilliam can be an incredible visual artist, but he can often be a clumsy and even clueless storyteller, and this is never more obvious than in Don Quixote. The film shows a lot of promise at the start, and you get the feeling it's going to be like Fear & Loathing in the Spanish countryside, with the line between reality and fiction being constantly blurred. But the 3rd act is terrible, managing to be simultaneously routine and incomprehensible, and squanders any goodwill the film had built up. I love Jonathan Pryce as the titular character, mostly because Jonathan Pryce is great in anything, and Adam Driver got a chuckle out of me now and then, but his character is mostly a snarky, self-important idiot that hardly ever makes the right decision. Having gestated for so long, the film feels like it was written and directed by 6 people at the same time. The results are just as chaotic as you'd imagine, and I have no idea why anyone thought it needed to be over 130 minutes long. There are many flickers of brilliance, but its ironic that, in this instance, the man who killed Don Quixote is the same one who tried for so many years to bring him to life.
April 23, 2019
Great movie!!! A great story superbly acted and directed. A long movie, but I barely noticed.
½ April 22, 2019
I am thrilled, that this movie finally got made! This is Terry Gilliam in fine form. Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce fully commit to their roles, along with an extended cast of interesting characters.

The challenges of creating so much, on a limited budget, are explored a little bit; in the mini-documentary at the end of the credits. It explains how that entire extended party sequence, was all shot in one night, and some of the other challenges they faced.

See the two documentaries by Keith Fulton and Luis Pepe:

1. Lost in La Mancha (2002) - this started out a making of film, but changed into why the film would probably never get made documentary.

2. He Dreamed of Giants (2018) - (still in editing) which covers the full history of the film, and the multiple attempts to get it made.
April 20, 2019
Worth the extended wait and drama. The movie got delayed twice before I was able to sit down and enjoy this masterpiece. I love the movie! I went with someone that hated it. Not everyone has a Gilliam palate, and that's okay.
April 19, 2019
The movie does a spectacular job of weaving Terry Gilliam and this movie's production saga into a very faithful retelling of the first best-selling novel. He even borrows the original novel's deconstruction of chivalry, romance, and storytelling itself, but like the original novel, he shows the gifts of romance that storytelling can still bring.
April 19, 2019
I just completed my first viewing of Terry Gilliam's long awaited, latest film, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" earlier today and as with all of his major efforts will definitely need to be seen several times to truly appreciate it's multilayered story. At the center of it, similarly to many of his former releases from Brazil and The Fisher King onward, we're presented with another tale that centers on the hero's journey, one which I have sought to, and have lived on many levels myself, while at the same time holding up a mirror to many of the world's absurdities that often blind us all, as well as keeping us from reaching our highest, truest potential. This is a tale that I will be revisiting many times in the future, and one you all should experience first hand, even if only to escape from the dull and illusionary existences we are forced into living through on most days of our life.
April 14, 2019
It's nice to finally see director Terry Gilliam's "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" in the cinemaÔŅ 1/2even if it was only available to see for one night. It's been a grueling 25 year odyssey of failure and false starts to get "Don Quixote" to the screen. ¬†Back in 2000 Gilliam first got cameras rolling, with Jean Rochefort as Quixote and Johnny Depp as Sancho, but flash floods washed away the sets and Rochefort left the project after a back injury (the resulting behind the scenes documentary "Lost in La Mancha" is a heartbreaking chronicle for any interested fan). Gilliam persevered and cast several top actors to play Quixote over the years: Gerard Depardieu, Robert Duvall, Michael Palin, and even John Hurt (who was later diagnosed with cancer and died). ¬†Johnny Depp stayed on as Sancho as long as he could but left due to other commitments. "Quixote" seemed to be cursed like no other before it. But in 2017 Terry Gilliam finally completed his extravaganza and it was set to close last year's Cannes Film Festival, but a legal battle with a producer stalled its global release. This year, on April 10, the U.S. got an exclusive one night only peek at "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" and I was pleased to get the opportunity to see it in a cinema.

The movie opens with Quixote maniacally charging a windmill to 'save' the fair maiden Dulcinea from a giant monster, but instead he gets tangled up in its turbine blades. Then someone yells "CUT!" For a second it's as if we're watching a documentary about Gilliam's experiences making this movie but the fourth wall drops and what we're actually watching is an expensive TV commercial being filmed by frustrated film director Toby Grisoni (Adam Driver). Toby thinks shooting the commercial in Spain is a big mistake, but we soon learn that he isn't happy with anything. With pressure mounting to finish the shoot Toby takes off on a motorcycle and stops in a nearby village to clear his head. He instantly recognizes that he shot a student film there 10 years before--a film that coincidentally was about Don Quixote!  Toby also finds Javier (the remarkable Jonathan Pryce), the old cobbler he originally recruited to play Quixote, still alive and still dressed in his Quixote armor costume. And Javier is thoroughly convinced he's the chivalrous Quixote himself and that Toby is his squire Sancho Panza returned from afar to help him serve the fair maiden Dulcinea!

In typical Terry Gilliam fashion Toby, the every-man protagonist, gets swept away by 'Quixote's' madness and finds himself on the run from the law, dodging 'terrorists', fighting a knight that sparkles in sunlight, meeting a bathing beauty under a waterfall, and returning full circle to the television ad campaign. Toby also seems to travel through time and lands in the 16th Century world of Don Quixote, running and hiding from Spanish soldiers.  For better or worse this narrative-in-flux turns the movie on its head and makes it difficult for Toby (and the audience) to tell what's real and what's fantasy. Bureaucrats have been a favorite Gilliam antagonist so it's no surprise to see Toby's boss (a one dimensional Stellan Skarsgard) and Russian investor Alexei (the always unshaven Jordi Molla) making life difficult for everyone in the story. Adam Driver gives Toby an exhilarating sense of continuity considering how many different things his character goes through.  Jonathan Pryce as Quixote (wearing Rochefort's original costume) reveals a stalwart yet sympathetic man whose lunacy is matched by duty.  Olga Kurylenko, Joana Ribeiro, Stellan Skarsgard, Sergi Lopez, and many others are all superb.  This is Terry Gilliam's first digitally-shot feature and cinematographer Nicola Pecorini delivers a beautiful feature, and composer Roque Banos provides a warm and simple score.

Is "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" a good movie? I'll be frank. It has way too much profanity and that's a big criticism coming from me. But with the exception of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" any Gilliam film is a great thing!   He's a proven visual genius that gives his audience an outside-the-box experience Every Single Time. I don't think Gilliam's noble quest to complete this film has prevented him from making a thoughtful and adventurous tale--the source material is a perfect fit to his sensibilities. I was expecting him to get overwhelmed by all the minutia but he strikes a remarkable balance between damaged characters and ridiculous plot, which is no small feat for a movie that's over two hours long. I admire Gilliam's tenacity more than most. From his days with Monty Python through all of his films he has been the voice for so many underdogs "King Arthur, Sam Lowry, Jack Lucas, the Brothers Grimm, and now Toby Grisoni. Gilliam is that one passionate guy standing against a corrupt system while everyone else mindlessly bends over and takes it. Gilliam to our rescue! How chivalrous, indeed.
April 14, 2019
Terry Gilliam is one of those filmmakers whose films are over the heads of most critics, which is why he's the filmmaker and they only wish they were. Reading some of the reviews, it strikes me that they missed the whole point of the movie. First, it is a magnum opus, giving you everything you expect and want from Gilliam. Colorful characters in visually stunning settings. There's whimsy woven through the philosophical observations of ourselves and how we move through the world in pursuit of our impossible dreams. Quixote has shades of Time Bandits and Brazil. Gilliam uses a broad stroke with supporting characters, so the heroes can dig deeper as we follow their journey of discovery. Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce are magical together. Is the film too long? Well, Avengers End Game is 3:02, and this is 2:13. It's not an action film. It's a film with a story and nuance. I never once looked at my watch. Is the film messy? Don Quixote is messy. Filmmaking is messy. Life is messy and chaotic. This isn't a by-the-numbers screenplay. It's complex and complicated with many layers. There's a movie within the movie within the movie. If you don't want to *think* -- then this isn't the movie for you. I want to see it again.
½ April 13, 2019
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a mess. I don't care if that was the intention of the film. It doesn't engage me, at all. I don't like Pryce as Quixote and I don't like Driver as Toby. They're both annoying characters. Again, maybe that's the point. But, I don't care. This isn't literature. I don't want to spend time dissecting the subtext. It's a Gilliam film. I expect it to entertain me.

Terry Gilliam hasn't made a great film for twenty years. He's 77 years old now and, based on his last four films, I don't think we're going to see another Gilliam masterpiece. Fear and Loathing was the last of his great works.

Zero Theorem was okay. The Brothers Grimm was awful. Imaginarium was awful. Tideland was interesting, but overcooked. I like Don Quixote least of the lot. I got more than halfway through before giving up and walking out. Pryce's performance is grating. Driver's moustache makes his character even less likeable than he already is. And, the plot is an absolute mess.

Gilliam is trying too hard, these days. The passion is no longer there, so he's forcing himself to imitate his former glory. Focusing more and more on bright costumes and wigs and over-acting. Tilda Swinton's character in Zero Theorem is embarrassing and Jeff Bridges' mouth movements in Tideland look like a dog eating toffee. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is worse (in some ways) than Quixote. They should have recast after Heath Ledger died. It is one of the most disastrous train-wrecks I've ever witnessed. But, it's less annoying than Quixote.

I don't think it's a coincidence (or a "curse") that cast members died on Gilliam or that he struggled to make Quixote for decades. People die.

Gilliam's career ate itself, like Tim Burton. Both of them imitate themselves, poorly. Their films are reconstructed from fragments of other films, like Frankenstein's monster.

I wish Gilliam just made an adaptation of Quixote, rather than trying ‚" and failing ‚" to be clever, by adding layers of this and layers of that... until the he ruins the entire film. But, I wouldn't sit through it - regardless - if he cast Pryce as Quixote. He's a good actor, don't get me wrong, but he sucks as Quixote. Gilliam only cast him because he's one of his regulars. If he'd never worked with him before, there's no way he'd cast him. I'd prefer almost everybody else he considered for the role, except maybe Michael Palin. John Hurt would have been so much better for the part. And Johnny Depp would have been better as Toby. But, still, like I said, the film is a mess... and there's no fixing that by swapping actors around.
½ April 12, 2019
The fact that 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' even exists in 2019 is a wonder to behold, but still more incredible is how successfully Gilliam's film works as the sum of its long-winded production journey's parts.
Though not as engaging as it could be, often feeling like Gilliam is venting his thirty years of frustrations making the project, the film's perpetual evolution and bleeding loss of reality and fantasy, leave it never short of being a thoroughly captivating, fascinating cinematic experiment.
In addition, the impeccable Jonathan Pryce shines in the titular role while Gilliam simultaneously adapts and deconstructs Cervantes' novel, combines his second drafts' modern and period elements in a purposefully surreal narrative, and adds an additional meta commentary on the nightmarish making of the film and filmmaking in general.
April 12, 2019
I thought this was an extremely entertaining film! It certainly kept my attention through moments of poetic, Spanish passion, the Monty Python sense of humor, and the building of a genuine relationship between Adam Driver as Sancho/Toby and Jonathan Pryce as Don Quixote.
April 12, 2019
If there's one thing that's always been true about Terry Gilliam, it's that you must expect the unexpected. This film is the perfect example of the auteur theory. Gilliam has finally made his passion project a reality, and what an experience it is. It's wild, it's imaginative, it's just a little bit crazy, and like any Gilliam project, it's brought to life by superb acting performances and a fascinating visual aesthetic. In this viewer's eyes, this was 25+ years of development well spent. Ride on Mr. Gilliam!
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