Movies for Gamers #6: The Brothers Grimm

This is part of a series of reviews of movies particularly interesting or inspiring for role playing. Because of their setting, style, characters, editing or story. Read the introduction here or here if you are new to this series.

The Brothers Grimm is another of those underrated movies. Even when it's one made by Terry Gilliam, former Monty Python member and director of such classics as Brazil and Baron Munchhausen. Haven't seen these either? You're in for a treat. Gilliams movies tend to be lavish in art direction, full of understated humour, and overall they're plainly bizarre.

In lead role is Heath Ledger – the one who died mysteriously after playing his last role as the Joker in Batman Returns. He plays Jakob Grimm, a kind of ghost buster in medieval Germany. Together with his brother Will played by Matt Damon, he sets out to rid the country of ghosts. Or rather dupe the townsfolk into believing they do so, while the ghosts are impersonated by their accomplices.

But one day our heroes stumble into our movie and find a real witch. And a real ghostly forest. There theey have to prove to be more than charlatans. The witch is played by Monica Belluci – of uncanny beauty and unexpected role choices such as in Irreversible and Malena. And she gives whole new meaning to the tale of Rapunzel. Fortunately they have tough woodswoman Lena Headey to help them out. Even if she doesn't trust them one bit, rightfully.

The Brothers Grimm is a joy to watch, and a trove of ideas to use in your games. Almost all of the characters in the movie would make cool player characters, and the ones that don't are good antagonists.

Just figure, the player characters travelling around to dupe townspeople into believing they can take care of ghosts, and then they have to take care of a real one! Very good for inventive players who play thieves for example, but have to face undead - without a cleric who can turn these undead at hand.

The evil forest quickly featured in a few adventures I did. Horrifying... displacing trees. Changing forest exits...

Best of all, The Brothers Grimm shows how you can twist any fairy tale into a grim story excellent for more grown up role playing. Imagine the sleeping beauty as a horrible vampyre. Have a look.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly? I was disappointed.
    Where the still-great "Brazil" matched its cabinet of the bizarre with tempo and a sense of urgency, "Grimm" IMHO suffered from vapor plot threads, a meandering storyline, and whiney characters I could not find sympathetic.
    I had the impression that Gilliam was slogging through this one, as this flick's twists were rather mundane (e.g. the faked ghost turning out to be real, the obligatory role reversals, etc.)
    I'm sorry to say that by the end of the laborious story, I couldn't care less how it ended.