Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger) travel the known world unlocking curses, defeating demons, and vanquishing the wicked. Oh, so the townspeople do believe.
But really, the brothers are just con-artists tricking each new town into believing they are heroes.
The brothers come across a new village one day that has been having problems with children disappearing in the haunted, dark forest near their town. Upon the insistence of a rather corrupt politician, Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce), and his sidekick, Cavaldi (Peter Stormare), the brothers must uncover the real mystery even though this time all the horrors are real. Do the brothers have the courage to take on real creatures of the night?
Director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits) is at it again. His sets, atmosphere, and brilliant production design take you away to another world where you're not really sure if magic exists or not. I liked how he was able to show how magic is viewed in the world from the brothers' perspectives as well as the townspeople.
I also really enjoyed the dynamic relationship between the brothers, Damon and Ledger, who are constantly disagreeing but still love each other. Their relationship is the strongest character piece in the film and both Damon and Ledger have done a wonderful job bringing these characters to life.
The film's female leads, including relative unknown Lena Headey and Monica Bellucci, also turn in wonderful performances.
Headey seems to have been around Hollywood for eons now and is finally finding her way into the light. Headey is strong and charismatic as the scout who leads the brothers into the forest, and her feistiness is a perfect counter to Damon's reluctant yet dominant brother.
Bellucci is always wonderful to watch, even though most western audiences still barely know who she is. Her wicked queen is gorgeous, tormented, and utterly brilliant in the little screen time that she has. Her role here is a lot like the performance she did in Brotherhood of the Wolf – thankless, yet brilliant and prominent. Why doesn't someone give this woman more lead work? Has no one seen Malena?
It was really nice to see Gilliam re-team with Jonathan Pryce, who he hasn't worked together with since Brazil. Pryce's performance and character is so typical of the Gilliam style of storytelling and reminds us who is behind the camera. I also really liked the humor between Pryce and Stormare.
There is a lot to like about The Brothers Grimm and it is a welcomed surprise to see that a "special-effects heavy" film can still have brains as well as imagination. (4 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.