Tideland Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam gives an introduction before the film begins on this two-disc, special edition release of Tideland: "Many of you will hate this film,” he begins, with what can only be called an air of resignation, "but many of you will love this film,” he adds with optimism. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t also say: "many of you will be surprised to find there’s actually little in this film to elicit such extreme emotions.” Despite being awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at Spain’s San Sebastian festival, Tideland was given surprisingly vitriolic reviews by, at the very least, the North American press, and it’s perhaps because the film is, on a surface level, "challenging.” Tideland stars Joedelle Ferlan as Jeliza-Rose, a girl trained to cook up smack for her father (Jeff Bridges), his long periods of stupefaction known between fixes as "daddy’s vacations.” After the unfortunate death of her mother, they decamp to a decrepit, vandalised farmhouse that was once the home of Bridges’ character. As he takes a peculiarly long vacation, Jeliza-Rose’s imagination unleashes itself with the help of some disturbingly strange neighbours and her troupe of disfigured doll heads. Tideland is unmistakably a Gilliam film, with an unsettling air that lingers throughout. In particular, the natural way in which Jeliza-Rose’s interest in sexuality is displayed may be a bit rich for many, but Tideland’s main flaw is that as a picture from a child’s point of view, even with a number of fantastical sequences, the film lacks depth. As a result, at two hours long, it is unevenly paced and overstays its welcome. For students of Gilliam’s work the DVD is superb, with bonus features to rival his Criterion collections. The set includes the "Getting Gilliam” documentary, deleted scenes and enlightening commentaries. (Maple)