Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Don Juan De Marco


The idea that craziness might be preferable to sanity goes back at least to Cervantes, and probably a lot farther. It can be a fetching trope for the movies, affording lots of opportunities for satire and wry reflection of the “Who’s really the crazy one here?” type. The cult classic King of Hearts comes to mind, where the inmates of an asylum briefly take over an empty town, then voluntarily return to the nuthouse when the “sane” people come back, in the form of soldiers. There’s also They Might Be Giants. Of course, crazy people are almost never the engaging, sweet, smart people we see in these movies … but never mind, a pumpkin seldom turns into a coach, either, but that doesn’t stop Cinderella from being a good story.

This one might have been all those things, but for the presence of gigantic, shambling, disconnected Marlon Brando. I was looking over his credits and found that, aside from a goofy little turn in The Freshman, you have to go all the way back to the ’70s to find a good performance by Brando. He spent the last years of his life picking up paychecks when he needed them. Here he is totally unconvincing in every aspect of his performance. As the psychiatrist who is being won over by Johnny Depp, who thinks he is Don Juan, he just has nowhere to go. He begins already entranced by the boy. We need a little time to establish that he’s in some way disconnected from his life and his wife, so we witness some sort of change. He’s just a big, roly-poly collection of tics and mannerisms here, and it’s very sad.