The Man Who Killed Don Quixote: Film Review

Terry Gilliam has been trying to make a film loosely inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ classic literary character Don Quixote for around 30 years and its completion has consumed him, so of his sake, it’s a miracle The Man Who Killed Don Quixote even exists. However, it’s not a good film.


Adam Driver stars as Toby, an advertising director who is shooting a commercial starring Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza in Spain. He comes across his student film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which he filmed in a nearby town ten years earlier. He decides to pay the place a visit and discovers Javier (Jonathan Pryce), a shoemaker he cast to play Quixote, has lost his mind and truly believes he is the medieval knight and that Toby is his Sancho Panza, and the duo go on weird and fantastical adventures.

I urge you all to have a read of this film’s Wikipedia page. The timeline of its troubled production is unbelievable – everything seemed to go wrong, leading many to believe it was cursed. From flooding to money and actors getting sick (John Hurt and Jean Rochefort are both now dead), Gilliam has been through hell trying to get this made so you have to give kudos to him for never giving up and for continuing to rewrite the script so it is more loosely based on the Don Quixote story and set in the modern day, with it showing how movies can ruin people.

So it’s such a shame that he didn’t make a more solid piece of work. Putting the production’s storied history aside and looking at the film on its own, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is just an incoherent mess that really outstays its welcome. It’s so weird and fantastical, as Toby starts to lose his mind too and imagines things that aren’t there, so we have a few hallucinatory moments that are just bonkers. By the end, I had well and truly checked out.

Admittedly though, it was fun seeing Driver in a role so vastly different to his usual work and you get to see him be silly, weird and random. The role was once going to be played by Johnny Depp so you can kind of get an idea of what he’s going for. I’m glad the production took so long so he could be involved, same for Pryce – I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing such a good job of Quixote.

If you’re a fan of either lead then this might be worth a cinema trip, otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend. 

In limited cinemas now 

Rating: 2/5 

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