From the get-go, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus draws you into the weird and fantastical world behind Doctor Parnassus’ mirror, a world created by auteur of the fantastic, Terry Gilliam.
This mirror transports unsuspecting customers into an imaginarium, a wonderful world in which both your true desires and your true self, reside.
The movie begins with Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) working an old-time carnival show together with his three showmen, dwarf Percy (Verne Troyer), his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) and Anton (Andrew Garfield). They lure outsiders into the mirror where excitement and the occasional disaster await.
Valentina is tired of the life of a carnival showman and she wants something normal. What she doesn’t know is that on her 16th birthday, she will be collected by The Devil.
The Devil a.k.a. Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) and Doctor Parnassus are both incurable gamblers. In one match, Doctor Parnassus wins the power to manipulate imagination as well as immortality. Still dissatisfied, he makes a deal with The Devil to gain the love of his life but at a price: his firstborn, Valentina must be surrendered to Mr. Nick when she turns 16.
To keep his child, Doctor Parnassus makes another bet with The Devil, if he manages to collect five souls before The Devil does, he gets to keep Valentina. He comes across a man who will help him, Tony Shepard (Heath Ledger).
Eerily enough, Shepard first appears on screen hanging from a bridge with a noose around his neck. Ledger passed away in the midst of filming this movie. Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell filled in the remaining scenes, each playing the charismatic Shepard who, upon entering the mirror, changes his appearance to suit the imaginarium, and ultimately helps Doctor Parnassus to change the fate of his beloved daughter.
A tale of magic, mysticism, and the power of imagination, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is as visually enticing as it is psychologically challenging. With floating monks, dreamscapes high above the clouds and of pop-up paper trees, the beauty of the whimsical setting makes the film worth watching.