Get Your Terry Gilliam Fix From "Franklyn"

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Did The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus not satisfy your Terry Gilliam cravings? Good thing Franklyn is out on DVD, featuring some absurd dystopian world-building that feels like a series of outtakes from Brazil or Time Bandits.

We were waiting for Franklyn to come out in theaters, but unfortunately it never arrived. But the good news is, it came out on DVD back in November, and it's well worth checking out. It weaves together the stories of three ordinary people, along with the superhero Preest. There's an artist who keeps filming her own suicide attempts, a man searching for his missing son, and another man whose fiancee deserted him and is now reconnecting with a childhood sweetheart.

Large chunks of Franklyn are basically a very good art movie, with some very neat ideas and a few really powerful character moments thrown in. But fans of dystopian science fiction, and Gililam's work in particular, will especially love the fantasty sequences involving Preest, the only atheist in Meanwhile City, where you have to belong to a religion, or else the head-breaking Clerics come after you. Besides the religion based on washing-machine instructions, we meet a believer in the Seventh Day Manicurists. It's all very silly and ornate, and dovetails nicely with some of the revelations about the suicidal artist girl's search for meaning, and the nature of that man's childhood sweetheart. The movie's third act starts to feel like a bit of a letdown, but then it pulls together again for a strong conclusion.

Most of all, after watching the sequences in Meanwhile City, you're left wishing someone would throw enough money at writer-director Gerald McMorrow to allow him to do an entire dystopian superhero film in that style.