TIDELAND (Terry Gilliam). 122 minutes. Opens Friday (October 20). For venues and times, see Movies, page 98. Rating: N Rating: N
When a film by a major director takes two years to find theatrical release - a year's delay after its festival premieres - it's rarely because the producers think it's too good to show to the public.
Tideland stars Jodelle Ferland as a child who runs away to her grandmother's farmhouse after her mother dies from a heroin overdose, only to find herself sharing it with the rotting corpse of her father and visited by a crazy neighbour lady played by Janet McTeer, apparently channelling Margot Kidder at her most gravel-voiced and demented.
Filmed while Gilliam was fighting the Weinsteins over the final cut of The Brothers Grimm, Tideland is very strikingly shot on the Canadian prairies and designed to the inch by Jasna Stefanovic to resemble something out of a child's fantasy. It might be a good movie if it were actually about something. Anything.
This offering of imagery in lieu of a thematic concern is a persistent problem in Gilliam's lesser films. Fans of Brazil and 12 Monkeys will find themselves wondering when the picture's going to start. Those with no attachment to the director will be waiting for it to stop.