Review: HE DREAMS OF GIANTS Is A Documentary Charting Terry Gilliam’s Epic Quixote Journey

4 out of 5 stars

He Dreams Of Giants is a powerful documentary charting director Terry Gilliam’s exhaustive (and near impossible) journey to make his elusive passion-project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. After 30 years of attempting to make the film, he finally got it to the screen in 2018, with a cast that included Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver

He Dreams Of Giants comes from directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe and producer Lucy Darwin, the team behind 2002’s Lost in La Mancha, a stunning documentary film which detailed a doomed earlier production of the film which was set to star Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort. This is a sequel of sorts to that film – the perfect companion piece. One day you’ll finally be able to sit down and watch Lost In La Mancha, He Dreams Of Giants and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote as an epic triple bill. 

This documentary is a very emotional piece, one about persistence of vision and drive to achieve your dreams. It’s also a story about getting old. Cutting back to footage shot when Gilliam was shooting the ill-fated Depp/Rochefort version in 2000, we can see that time has taken its toll on Gilliam (and on all of us). He may be older, but he’s still as driven to make his Quixote film – even if it kills him – and at one point it nearly does (he’s hospitalised during principal photography). Gilliam likens making the film to an ‘exorcism’ and by watching Fulton and Pepe’s film you do get the impression that he’s purging something from his system. 

A film about passion, dreams and filmmaking, He Dreams Of Giants is also a wonderful film about the making of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – and that’s something many of us never thought we’d say – especially Terry Gilliam.