Matt Damon and Heath Ledger play the legendary Will and Jacob Grimm, only here they're portrayed as 19th Century scam artists, who conjure up spooky witches and ghosts and then hire themselves out to unsuspecting, naive villagers who pay a tidy sum to have the Grimms dispose of the pesky ghouls.
They make quite a good living deceiving people and after one of their successful "heroics," they stop at a local German pub for a pint or two. There Napoleon's military arrests them and they are brought before the sadistic French Governor (Jonathan Pryce).
Just before having his man (Peter Stormore - in a role played strictly for laughs) put the brothers to death, he decides to use their so-called talents to help find young girls that have disappeared into a dark and foreboding village forest.
This is where the film takes a turn into a tale that never seems to end. At 118 minutes long, director Terry Gilliam appears to get pulled in a million directions.
There are spells and curses and witches and a pretty trapper (Lena Heady) who skins and cuts open an animal up close for us to see. There are also some comic performances and scary images of beheadings and violence. It's as if the script can't decide on what it wants to be.
The forest is a frightening and imaginative place, filled with trees that come alive and change position so that you can't find your way out once you've stepped in; a werewolf that stalks intruders; and a tower that is home to an undead Queen (Monica Bellucci) who is waiting for the blood of young victims to bring her back her youth.
The look of the film is terrific. From the costumes to the elaborate sets to the enchanted forest, everything is a feast for the eyes. The problem is that there are too many characters, and a story that never wants to end.
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