I guess I just needed more breadcrumbs to guide me back...
A. Gyurisin | Wet, Wild, Wonderful Virginia | 12/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As I continue to read more and more dedicated, intelligent graphic novels, I cannot help but think that perhaps director Alex van Warmerdam didn't read a couple prior to creating this film. From the opening sequences until the end of this film, you cannot help but feel a sense of whimsy, the fantastical, and enchantment. From our hopeless characters to the sporadic plot, Warmerdam has created a film in which the symbolic references and fairy tale connections isn't laid out in front of you, but instead deeply rooted within the chaos of Grimm for only those who are truly dedicated can find them. He buries them very deep within his work, but with some patience, a great eye, and a passion for the human genre element, you too will see the strength of Warmerdam's work. Grimm is not a masterpiece by far. In fact, it isn't one of the greatest films that I have seen, but it did burst from the seams with potential.
Warmerdam has quite the ability to build a very surreal world, place unknowing (and sometimes unwilling) characters into the mix, and give us bleak references to pop-children's culture. He shows us this with Grimm. For those of you die hard fairy tale fanatics, you may not like this story. It is not one that the average film viewer will enjoy. Grimm takes some time getting used to. It takes some time developing the characters, and it takes quite a bit of time giving us its story. It is never rushed (though sometimes we wish it were quicker), and eventually completes with a message of family, strength, and sibling love. Warmerdam does a great job of giving us two great navigators through his story with Jacob and Maria. Two completely different characters by nature, but both still have one passion in their eyes, to keep their friendship and family dynamic together. These two are the quintessential "Hansel & Gretel" as they voyage through the world of Spain to discover, not only themselves, but also how cruel the real world can be. While their interweaving stories could/should have been developed deeper with stronger bonds between them and the other characters in this film, Warmerdam has done a superb job of giving us their sole stories and emotions. If you solely watch just Jacob and Maria throughout this film, you will see such a strong human element and the sporadic events that occur to them as they continue their perilous journey. I applaud Warmerdam for his work on these two characters because they lead us through the story. We feel for them, we grow with them, we rally behind them near the end, so in essence, we enjoy these characters. Alas, his lacking story structure is the only hurdle that is tough to cross.
Warmerdam interweaves so many different fairy tale-esque moments throughout the story that you begin to loose focus of the central themes. It reminded me of a third-grade story in which the young child forgot to do his homework and begins his report on "Hansel & Gretel" and inadvertently brings in moments from "Peter Pan", "Little Red Riding Hood", and "Jack & the Beanstalk" unknowingly. As the class laughs, you cannot help but think of how interesting a story like that would be. I think Warmerdam did his homework, brought several different childish stories together, but somehow never quite completed them. He would throw in segments of several different childhood genres that we, the audience, never had the opportunity to enjoy the one we were on. This is where Warmerdam lost me. I wanted to enjoy the different stories. I wanted to see how our not-so-young heroines would react to the different situations, but we never had that opportunity. He would begin a story, but never finish or at least create a strong enough segway to the next moment. Warmerdam had a great concept with this film, but never was able to pull his ideas together. Coupled with a horrible choice of music selection, Warmerdam never quite built the darkness surrounding Grimm. That is what ultimately hurt this picture.
Overall, Warmerdam did a decent job with overall final product of this film. Grimm is not a film for everyone, but for those that enjoy moments of David Lynch coupled with themes of childhood fairy tales. It is a dark story that never quite makes you laugh but instead attempts to use shocking cinematography to bring you this surreal world that we never quite believe exists. Warmerdam has created this mythological world that could be right in your backyard, but spooky enough to believe it came from your imagination. His characters were strong, but his story lacked decent connection. I found myself, like Jacob and Maria, lost during several of the scenes only to reconnect later during the film. I guess I just needed more breadcrumbs to guide me back...
Grade: **** out of *****"
Eeh . . .
bowery boy | seattle | 02/18/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first 45 minutes of this film is rapidly engaging and very, very good which makes it worth the three star rating I gave it. Jacob and Marie find themselves in one interesting predicament after another but once they reach Spain and discover their Uncle had passed away the movie totally disengrates into this stupid tale of incestuous jealousy, violence and stupid actions. What a waste of what could have been a promising film."
Grimm ~ The Title Says It All
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 12/27/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Note: Dutch and Spanish with English subtitles.
Jacob (Jacob Derwig) and his sister Maria (Halina Reijin) are young adults still living at home with their incredibly poor parents. One day their Father leads them out into the forest to gather wood and abandons them there. He leaves a note behind advising them to travel to Spain to visit their uncle. And so their journey begins.
Left with absolutely nothing they must fend for themselves the best they can. They resort to stealing, robbing, prostitution and even murder in order to survive. They finally arrive at their destination only to discover that their aunt and uncle have died in an accident. Believe it or not, things only get worse from there on.
Grimm indeed. Apparently director Alex van Warmerdam was attempting to create a modern day fairytale ala the Brothers Grimm. I will leave the decision as to whether he failed or succeeded in this task up to those more well versed in the writings of these famous siblings. However as far as rating this film on its entertainment value I have to say he failed miserably. The main characters weren't very likeable and the choices they make along the way make them even more undesirable. A pointless film from beginning to end. Pass on this one."