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Raves for Ledger’s Last Film

Besides leaving behind mystified fans, a heartbroken on-again-off-again fiancée, and a young girl who hardly knew her father, Heath Ledger’s death nearly two years ago resulted in a half-finished film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam directed the twisted tale, made even more complex when Ledger passed, leaving colleagues Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to finish the role he started. Though Gilliam reportedly first thought of abandoning what reviewer Kenneth Turan says is “one of his most original and accessible works,” he was eventually convinced to continue. The film’s title character is a shaman leading a traveling show, which features a mirror allowing audiences to experience either the good or evil dimension of their minds. Because the only Ledger scenes left to shoot when he died were those of his character, Tony behind the mirror, Gilliam reworked the script, to depict the physical changes those looking into the glass experience. Apparently, the trio of actors stepped in so seamlessly, Gilliam said, that one member of the postproduction team thought the film had been written that way. Though Ledger reportedly plays his morally challenged character well, Christopher Plummer (as Parnassus) and Tom Waits (as Mr. Nick, representative of the devil) are the true stars of the film.