Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tideland (15)

Dir: Terry Gilliam, 2005, Canada/UK (122 mins)
Jodelle Ferland, Jeff Bridges, Janet McTeer
Terry Gilliam is back and in provocative form with the woozy Southern Gothic of Tideland, which features a cast of damaged grotesques spinning in and out of the life of Jeliza-Rose, a resilient nine-year-old. Dealing with parental overdose, geographic upheaval and pervasive decomposition with good grace and a fiercely energetic imagination, Jeliza-Rose’s darkly magical existence fills up with dolls’ heads, rabbit holes and talking squirrels, as life becomes curiouser and curiouser,
In making the point that innocence is not something to be preserved behind glass, Gilliam risks the audience’s ire by placing a child in a world of junkies though. Most contentiously, he also hints at a sense of sexuality. But Tideland maintains such unflinching honesty in its child’s-eye-view that while occasionally discomforting, it ultimately infects you with its sense of wonder. Featuring vertiginous cinematography and spellbinding performances from Bridges, McTeer and the extraordinary Ferland as Jeliza-Rose, this fantasy film is enthralling cinema; set to challenge and inspire. Kate Taylor

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