Tideland: Visionary Filmmaking or Just Plain Bad?

While Galleycat is quick to point to some of the book-to-film successes at the Toronto Film Festival, the literary adaptation that has us interested is Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Mitch Cullin’s Tideland. Is this a comeback for Gilliam? Could it be that Gilliam has produced a film that is too sui generis? The early reports so far have been interesting:

  • Cinematical: “[W]hile I found the film extremely easy to follow, there are definitely some uneasy scenes. But the result is what I believe to be a wonderful film as told through the eyes of a little girl with such an overactive imagination she can get through situations of death, mental handicap, drug abuse and poverty without batting an eye. This young charismatic actress is amazing and carries the whole film.”
  • Screen Daily: “Tideland does look very beautiful, with Nicola Pecorini capturing some striking images of cornfields and countryside and the camera constantly prowling and tilting to emphasis the way reality has become skewered. The craftsmanship is small compensation in a film that is too often merely weird and uninvolving.”
  • Reuters: “Terry Gilliam’s ‘Tideland’ provoked some of the strongest negative reactions. Told from the surreal point of view of the daughter of two junkies, played by Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Tilly, it inspired some 30 walkouts halfway through a press and industry screening.”
  • The Boston Globe: “The movie’s a classic case of a gifted filmmaker’s obsessions finally sailing over the edge and taking him along, but as the prairie Candide at the movie’s center, 10-year-old Jodelle Ferland has a talent to make Fanning call her agent in alarm.”
  • Indiewire: “…big-ticket items like Cameron Crowe’s ‘Elizabethtown’ and Terry Gilliam’s ‘Tideland’ sank like lead balloons.”
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