UK / Canada 2005
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
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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.
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!