Thursday, July 23, 2009

Over the River and Into Deep Shit - Grimm (2003)

All I knew about Grimm was that it was an "absurdist, darkly comic" re-imagining of Hansel and Gretel. But now, I can tell you that it's about two siblings, Jacob and Marie, who are abandoned by their parents in the woods. Their lovely patriarch leaves them with nothing except a note telling them to hike it all the way to Spain to live with their uncle. For the 5 minutes their parents are in the film, it's obvious they're a couple of asses. My one question, however, is why two 20-somethings are still living with their parents in the middle of nowhere, especially since they're hated by them. Maybe it's because they're Dutch. Probably not, but who knows.

No, you don't have any idea what happens next. Trust me.

This is one of those times when not knowing anything about a film really pays off. The story starts off simply, but takes turns you'd never expect. Bizarrely enough, this is also my only gripe with Grimm, and it's because a major plot point sort of just....happens. There's no explanation that I can find, and it's actually more strange than annoying since it's so glaring that I feel like I missed something. Maybe I did. For a reason my brain can't figure out, after Jacob and Marie find their way to Spain, Marie disappears when Jacob goes to get some food. He comes back to a note with an address written on it, so he heads off to find Marie. When he gets to the address, he finds Marie is "married" to some Spanish dude who lives in a very, very nice villa. And I only know that because he calls Marie his wife. What the fuck? Did I pass out with my drool-encrusted mouth agape for half an hour? I'm pretty sure I didn't, but one can never be sure of such a thing.

There's definitely some interesting morality going on here, though. Jacob and Marie don't have too big a problem killing, even if it is by accident. Off the top of my head, I put their body count at 4, if you don't include animals. Grimm isn't a violent or bloody film, by any means, and I'm glad it was done the way it was. It alternates between being mildly amusing, deadly serious, oddly sweet and laugh-out-loud funny. And maybe it's just me, but there were a few scenes where....well, I don't do that shit with my sister. Nothing gross takes place - but again, maybe it's because they're Dutch(I'm not picking on you guys, by the way) - but there might be some kind of cultural barrier I'm not aware of when it comes to siblings. To be vague, there are just some embraces and looks that go on for a little longer than they would have if I was Jacob. But hey, Jacob and Marie could be one of those uber-close brother-sister types that have nothing twisted going on inside their heads. I still wouldn't take a bath with my sister.

Anyways, I think we should move on. I haven't seen anything else by the writer and director, Alex van Warmerdam, but I'm going to give the rest of his catalogue a look-see at some point. The way he merged comedy and drama was impressive, and he made the most out of a simple premise. The two leads were great as well, and they really looked and behaved like close family(too close? Wait, we're past that). I should also mention how good the music was. It took me by surprise, but then again, I didn't even know the film took place in modern times. That might have clued me in. Another interesting aspect was that the leads had to speak both Dutch and Spanish, and they did so without sounding out of place or strained. It seemed natural to someone who speaks neither language, so I guess you'll have to take that observation for what it is. All I know for sure is that your average American has enough trouble speaking and writing English, so Spanish is usually out of the question. And Dutch? Good luck with that.

If only every stranger I met was this charitable...

I went into Grimm looking for a dark fairy tale. I'd say I got what I wanted, but not in the form I expected. I don't know much about the original save for the whole bread crumb thing, but van Warmerdam did an excellent job of twisting his own unique perspective and imagination around an already-beloved story. I'm not going to post the trailer since it shows some things I don't want you to see until you sit down and watch whole film. You'll have to find it for yourself if you simply don't have any self-control, but I'd recommend finding the DVD instead.


  1. I will see if i can stream this

    And incest is one of the few subject matters in film that still creeps me out. Like, i once saw a film called Ma mere which kind of got to me because of some incestous themes, but Irreversible(The Gasper Noe movie with the rape) is one of my faviorte movies ever. Not entirely sure what that says about me

  2. Grimm doesn't come anywhere close to approaching it like that. From what I remember (it's been 2 + years now), there were just a few scenes here and there that made me go uhhhhh....