Terry’s Train Wreck

by Alan Rapp on October 20, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Tideland
  • IMDb: link

TidelandTideland is so bad you honestly wonder if it was made as a joke.  It makes Running Scared (if you forgot how much I detested that film check out the review) look merely mediocre.  It’s dreadful, and one of the worst films ever made.

The film opens with the heroin-addicted couple who use their daughter Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland) to prepare their needles.  After the mother (Jennifer Tily) dies of and overdose, Noah (Jeff Bridges) takes his daughter to the country to the abandoned farmhouse where he grew up.

There he promptly overdoes himself leaving Jeliza-Rose alone with his decomposing corpse in the middle of the living room.  She’s so screwed-up she doesn’t notice and walks around in her own fantasy world with her only friends, the detached heads of a handful of dolls.  Of course she has to periodically return and give the decomposing body a big hug.

Out one day she runs into a retarded young man named Dickens (Brendan Fletcher), and the evil-crone who takes care of him (Janet McTeer), who are just as screwed-up as she is, if not more so.  They also seem to live in a bizarre world not unlike young Jeliza-Rose.

The film is just a nightmare.  The acting is substandard, the plot makes no sense, and the idea of putting a child in a story with rotting corpses, heroin overdoses, and strongly hinted at incestuous themes is simply monstrous.  Jeliza-Rose would have been better off with the Firefly family from The Devil’s Rejects (which Gilliam makes look like Mary Poppins compared to this).

A final note.  Gilliam must at some point realized the train wreck of a film he was making, and with his usual sense of irony decided to finish the film with an actual train wreck.  It’s a fitting metaphor for the entire film.  I can only assume that Gilliam was trying to create his own twisted version of The Wizard of Oz

There isn’t a second to enjoy here, and what we are given is so insane and disgusting it’s barely watchable.  If there’s a film that can be presented to young filmmakers as what what not to do then Terry Gilliam’s found it.  Tideland is a depressing, inane, evil, unapologetic waste of time and money.  I have never, in the course of my lifetime, left a theater before a film ended, but this one stretched me to my limits and if I hadn’t seen the film as a part of a local film festival ir would have been my first.  I could go on in more detail, but I’ve already spent more time on this piece of garbage than it’s worth.

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