THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE is a film thirty years in the making. On the evening of April 10, fans were finally able to see writer and director Terry Gilliam’s greatest passion project on the big screen – for one night only. I’m not going to get into the disasters that seemed to strike this film at every turn (you can read about them all here), but let’s just say the film is as autobiographical as it can be.
The film follows director Toby (played by Adam Driver) as he revisits the town where he once made his student film about Don Quioxte (Jonathan Pryce). Everything seems about the same until he finds that the old man who played Quixote in his film now actually believes he is Don Quixote in the flesh. From there, Toby and “Quixote” go on a wild adventure of Quixote’s fantasies that only Gilliam could dream up.
Jonathan Pryce along with his prosthetic nose is enchanting as the titular character. Adam Driver as Toby, the role which was once held by Johnny Depp, fully embraces the whimsy of Gilliam’s world. There’s a part when he gets his head stuck in a basket and another in which, through song and dance, he impersonates Eddie Cantor. In both of those scenes as well as the rest of the film, Driver is at a peak level of silliness. He and Pryce are a dynamic pairing to share Gilliam’s love of adventure and love for art.
The film presents the spirit of Don Quixote as a curse, which seems fitting when accounting for the lore surrounding the making of the film. Gilliam’s passion and love for this film shine through at every bend. It’s an incredibly enjoyable film to watch, and a perfect ode to Gilliam’s love of art and fantasy.