Fisher King, The (1991)

The Fisher King (1991), directed by Terry Gilliam.

A shock-jock radio dj falls apart and hits bottom after one of his fans commits mass murder. He feels responsible and it has shattered his life. Redemption is a long, hard road back: "If there was just some way I could pay the fine and go home".

Oh, no. Not that easy. His atonement lies through an insane street person he harmed. Insanity: you've got to get in to get out.

Another Holy Grail film! Gilliam says the subject does fascinate him.

I saw this only once before, probably on a video tape. I've shied away from a rewatch because of a traumatic, gut-wrenching scene of violence: the origin of the Red Knight nightmare image. Gilliam says everyone wanted him to cut that scene, but he held firm: trauma must be made real.

Our players:


Photographed by Roger Pratt.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion.

Terry Gilliam gives his usual happy commentary track, brought forward from the DVD. He describes how he broke his rules -- don't make a movie in the US, or for a studio, or from anything other than his own script -- and created a film he likes quite a lot. He has this great ability to see his own film the way someone in the audience sees it for the first time.