It took James Cameron 10 years to realise Avatar. Doesn’t seem such a long stretch when you consider director Terry Gilliam’s obsession with Don Quixote. A project he began back in 1989, stop-started twice, and is now ready for the world to see.
Adam Driver stars as Toby, an arrogant commercials director shooting on location in Spain. One evening a mysterious Gypsy approaches him with an ancient copy of Toby’s student film: Toby is moved and sets off to find the little village where he made his primary opus all those years ago. To Toby’s horror, his little film has had a terrible effect on the sleepy village; Angelica, the young girl who was innocence personified, now works as a high-class call-girl, and the old man who played Quixote has gone completely mad, believing he really is the ‘Knight of the Mournful Countenance’. Jonathan Pryce stars as Don Quixote, a role that has just been waiting for him.
A series of accidents leads to a fire that threatens to destroy the village. The police blame Toby and hunt for him, but he is ‘rescued’ by the deluded Don Quixote, mistaking him for his loyal squire Sancho. He leads Toby away into the countryside, on the quest to find his perfect lady, Dulcinea.
On their quest, Toby comes face-to-face with demons, both real and imagined, modern and medieval. Damsels are rescued, jousts are fought, giants are slain and women have beards. The client and filmmakers from the commercial shoot become intertwined in the narrative – poking fun at the game that advertising can sometimes be.
Reality and fantasy blur on this take on the road trip genre. At just over 2 hours, it can prove a little meandering for some.
About The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgard, Joana Ribeiro