Lost in La Mancha (2003)

Poor Terry Gilliam. One of the best visual directors today hardly ever gets a break. If there was justice in the world (a rhetorical question) Gilliam would be directing a Harry Potter movie. Just imagine the greatness of something like that. But Gilliam is seen as an “eccentric” who doesn’t keep good track of his budget, as evidenced by the inflating costs of his ‘Baron Munchausen’ effort. As a result of making classy yet quirky pictures his way Gilliam has become a director that works on the fringe. His last effort was a delirious retelling of the Don Quixote tale. When it came time to film ‘The Man Who Killed don Quixote’ it seems everyone, even God, was against Gilliam realizing his dream.

‘Lost in La Mancha’ is a fascinating and equally heart breaking documentary following the making of and, more so, the breaking of Gilliam’s movie. For starters the location for a pivotal scene in the desert is located near a Spanish air force base and fighter jets roar overhead. Then there’s a flash food that destroys equipment and a set. Then there’s the star of the picture that may or may not have cancer but sure can’t ride a horse. It’s enough to pull your hair out. ‘Lost in La Mancha’ is like the cinematic version of the highly entertaining, and addictive, HBO series ‘Project Greenlight’: witness movie making first hand and witness one catastrophe after another! The two directors of ‘Lost in La Mancha’ are the same people that created the nearly 90 minute documentary on the trials and tribulations of making ’12 Monkeys’ (and this documentary is by far the best special feature on any DVD ever released). The two have a certain fondness for Gilliam but push the Gilliam-as-Quixote image way too much.

The really sad part about this documentary is that the glimpses it does show of the film (when it is working and not going into devastation) prove it could have been a wonderful and whimsical fantasy. Heck, he even got Johnny Depp to be in it! Gilliam will move on as will everyone else involved in this aborted film but there will now be a lasting mark. Whether it serves as an open sore or a Band-Aid is a different matter.

Nate’s Grade: B+


About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on March 10, 2003, in 2003 Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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