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Tideland

UK / Canada 2005
produced by
Jeremy Thomas, Gabriella Martinelli, Peter Watson (executive), Paul Brett (executive) for Recorded Picture Company, Capri Films
directed by Terry Gilliam
starring Jodelle Ferland, Janet McTeer, Brendan Fletcher, Jennifer Tilly, Jeff Bridges, Dylan Taylor, Wendy Anderson, Sally Crooks
screenplay by Tony Grisoni, Terry Gilliam, based on the novel by Mitch Cullin, music by Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Now it would be really unfair to say Noah (Jeff Bridges) doesn't love his pre-teen daughter Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland), because he really does, they laugh a lot together, and he tells her all sorts of fantastic stories and makes her all sorts of fantastic promises - in his good moments, because you see, Noah's a heroin addict, and he has actually trained Jeliza-Rose to prepare his shots and stuff. But of course, this situation has to come to a head someday - like when his wife (Jennifer Tilly) dies from an overdose, and Noah, in no way fit to bear the consequences, just packs up a few things, grabs Jeliza-Rose, and the two flee to the middle of nowhere, where Noah's deceased mom owned a house, and it's still there but absolutely desolate. There, Noah and Jeliza-Rose want to set up shop ... but then Noah dies from an overdose, and Jeliza-Rose, to young to fully comprehend what's happening, pretends he's just having a long sleep and explores the neighbourhood, accompanied only by a bunch of dollheads who act as her ersatz-friends.

Eventually, Jeliza-Rose runs into Dell (Janet McTeer), a witch- or ghost-like woman (depends on her mood), and her mentally incapitated brother Dickens (Brendan Fletcher), who live in the house next door (a mere mile or so away), and she really takes to Dickens as his condition has left his imagination running wild, just like the imagination of a kid Jeliza-Rose's age. It's not long before Dell stumbles upon Noah's dead body, but instead of being alarmed she performs taxidermy on him, which means Jeliza-Rose gets him back in better condition than he had been in days. But that said, Dell's motives for this might not be entirely benign. And then her brother keeps a stash of dynamite in their house and considers himself a sharkhunter (even if there's not as much as a waterhole nearby), which all adds up to a very explosive situation ...

 

Tideland is a movie that's quite one of a kind: It's a very visual and associative movie that totally takes into account that the story doesn't make perfect sense because it's told through the eyes of a pre-teen girl who doesn't always acknowledge the fine lines between reality and fantasy and who does interpret life her own way to shield her mind from too much hardship - and to bring this across is what this movie really succeeds at, giving plenty of room to the absurd, the macabre and the surreal, and never once bringing the goings-on back to the floor of mere grown-up reason - and of course, Terry Gilliam, a very visual and also humourous director is just the man to exceed the film's premise even, and he's admirably helped by a very strong cast - and even the very impressive locations.

An as of yet underappreciated masterpiece in Gilliam's filmography, really!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

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produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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