The Fisher King (1991)

★★★★

One of the lesser known films of Jeff Bridges and the late Robin Williams, The Fisher King is a bizarre,unexpected, wonderful journey.

Off to a somewhat slow start, the film begins with Jack, a radio-celeb-wannabe, and the tragic events that unfold when a listener takes Jack’s on-air rant to heart – and goes on a killing spree. Descending into a well of despair and unable to confront the responsibility he feels for those who died, Jack  becomes a nasty, selfish drunk. When it seems that there is no further to fall, Jack is (literally) saved by a wacky vagrant by the name of Parry (Williams). But Jack can`t believe the twist of fate when he discovers that Parry is the widower of one of the spree-killer’s victims.

Through Parry, Jack sees the opportunity to atone for his role in the tragedy and alleviate his guilt. Initially, Jack’s plan is as selfish as anything else we have seen – he thinks that giving the vagrant money will lead to redemption. But as Jack learns more about the extent to which the  death of Parry’s wife has effected him, an unlikely friendship develops, and Jack is on a mission to make Parry whole again.

What ensues is a strange yet touching voyage. Never before have I see such elements so well entangled; amidst loves lost, loves gained, issues of psychology, emotional development, emotional regression and so much more, we are confronted with vagrants who believe they are singing dames and awkwardly aloof love interests. Yet, in all the chaos, we cannot help but become utterly invested in Parry and Jack’s happenings (and mishappenings).

Though there are comedic elements, our protagonists have so many layers to explore, unveiled in the most interesting ways, culminating in an amusing emotional rollercoaster. It is a struggle to empathise with the highly unlikeable Jack – but if you stick with it, you`ll get there eventually.

An absolute must for fans of Williams, the driving force of this movie, and an all-round enjoyable watch with a complexity that only adds to the experience of The Fisher King.

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