Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole and Tom Waits brilliant in the film, admitting Ledger's afterlife one-third of the way through filming acquired assembly to be briefly suspended. Ledger's role was adapt with Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell assuming transformations of Ledger's actualization Tony as he campaign through a dream world.
The film's apple premiere was during the 62nd Cannes Blur Festival, out of competition. The UK absolution of the blur was appointed for 6 June 2009 but pushed aback to 16 October 2009 due to its acknowledged premiere at Cannes. The blur was accustomed a bound absolution in the US on Christmas Day 2009 and a civic amplification on 8 January 2010.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was nominated for two Academy Awards in the categories Best Art Direction (art directed by Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, and set busy by Caroline Smith; absent to Avatar) and Best Costume Design (costumes advised by Monique Prudhomme; absent to The Young Victoria).
Doctor Parnassus' (Christopher Plummer) theatre troupe, which includes conjuration of duke able Anton (Andrew Garfield), dwarf Percy (Verne Troyer), and Parnassus' babe Valentina (Lily Cole), performs alfresco a pub in London. A alcoholic barges onstage, abolition through a date mirror. He is befuddled into a adventure of the acuteness that culminates in his actuality offered a best amid broad-mindedness and a pub. Afterwards he enters the pub, it explodes. Parnassus says he has absent addition one to Mr. Nick (Tom Waits).
Mr. Nick reminds Parnassus that in three canicule Valentina will about-face 16, at which point her anatomy will be his. As the affiliation crosses a bridge, Anton spies addition blind below it. They accomplishment the blind man (Heath Ledger), who spits out a aureate aqueduct aback revived.[note 1] Claiming to accept amnesia, the man joins the affiliation as a barker. Parnassus becomes blue over the approaching accident of his daughter. Mr. Nick visits Parnassus, absolute that the blind man is a ashamed philanthropist called Tony. He offers Parnassus a wager: Valentina can breach with whoever wins bristles souls first.
Tony convinces the affiliation to accomplish the actualization added adorable to abreast Londoners. In an flush capital Tony lures a woman into the mirror, area he takes on a altered actualization (Johnny Depp). The landscape, powered by the woman's imagination, appearance gigantic shoes and jewels. Tony dances with her, and they spy a cabin run by Mr. Nick. Tony convinces the woman to booty a gondola adjoin a pyramid alone, acceptable a anatomy for Parnassus. The woman emerges from the Imaginarium, writes a bare analysis to Parnassus and gives her purse to the troupe. Other women watching the actualization agitation for a turn; Parnassus wins three added souls.
Four Russian abyss see Tony, who owes them money. Tony flees into the Imaginarium. As the abyss abuse Tony (Jude Law), Parnassus tempts them with a badge application song, able they will adore actuality cops because they can abide actuality brutish. Mr. Nick auspiciously tempts them with a behemothic babushka; the account is four souls apiece.
Parnassus reveals to Valentina that in an hour she will accord to Mr. Nick. Hundreds of years earlier, Parnassus ran a abbey area monks perpetually recited a adventure to sustain the world. Mr. Nick challenged their behavior by sealing their mouths. The apple connected existing, but Parnassus claimed it was because belief were actuality told elsewhere. Mr. Nick fabricated a bet with Parnassus over which of them could win over the souls of bodies to either crave belief and acuteness (Parnassus) or addictions and age-old desires (Mr. Nick). Parnassus won over twelve souls afore Mr. Nick, and was accustomed immortality. Because his anatomy still aged, Parnassus fabricated a new alliance with Mr. Nick so that he ability be active afresh in adjustment to win the affection of a woman he loved. In exchange, any adolescent he fathered would become Mr. Nick's acreage aback the adolescent angry 16.
Valentina wants to run away, but Tony enters the Imaginarium to accord his anatomy to Parnassus. Anton has apparent that Tony is a counterfeit alms bluff and jealously struggles with Tony. In the scuffle, all three of them end up in the mirror.
In the Imaginarium, Tony (Colin Farrell) and Valentina float bottomward a river in a baiter and accept sex. Shortly afterwards an bankrupt adolescent disrupts their accord in the boat, Tony is aback aback in his role as a philanthropist, speaking at a fundraiser with the President (Peter Stormare) attending. Anton appears as a adolescent attempting to betrayal Tony as a fraud. A mob storms afterwards Tony as the mural disintegrates about them. Anton avalanche into a void, and Tony flees into a desert. Valentina enters a alive mural of burst bottle and mirrors. Distraught over her father's bargain, Valentina decides to accord her anatomy to Mr. Nick. Chased by the mob, Tony flees up Mount Parnassus as a crestfallen Parnassus looks on. Mr. Nick offers to barter Valentina for Tony.
Tony spots a gallows, but Parnassus confronts him, captivation two copies of Tony's pipe, which he had acclimated to brace his windpipe adjoin the noose. Parnassus challenges Tony to accept which aqueduct is 18-carat and which will break. Tony chooses the amiss aqueduct and dies. Valentina is freed.
Parnassus emerges from the Imaginarium a few years later, award that Valentina affiliated Anton and has a daughter. He watches the ancestors from abaft a resturant window, but does not acknowledge them. Teaming up with Percy already more, Parnassus begins affairs toy amphitheater replicas of the imaginarium on a artery corner. Mr. Nick, though, is still present, anytime watching.
Lily Cole (Valentina) and Tom Waits (Mr Nick) announcement the blur at the 2009 Toronto International Blur Festival
* Heath Ledger as Tony: A abstruse alien who joins the group. Aback Ledger died in the bosom of production, the role was adapt for assertive scenes to accept Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law portray "physically adapted versions" of the actualization aural the eponymous Imaginarium.
* Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus: A above abbot and the 1,000-year-old baton of a travelling theatre troupe.
* Andrew Garfield as Anton: a affiliate of Doctor Parnassus' troupe.
* Verne Troyer as Percy: Doctor Parnassus' confidant.
* Lily Cole as Valentina: Doctor Parnassus' daughter.
* Tom Waits as Mr Nick: a clothing of the Devil.
* Peter Stormare as the President of the Universe: a apple statesman
* Maggie Steed as Louis Vuitton Woman
* Mark Benton as Dad
* Simon Day as Uncle Bob
* Paloma Faith as Sally
* Richard Riddell as Martin
* Montserrat Lombard as Sally's friend