ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Brazil (1985)

UK 142m, Colour
Director: Terry Gilliam; Cast: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist; Michael Palin; Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm

brazilBrazil is a brilliantly imagined film that has a retro-futuristic look and feel that is unique to its director Terry Gilliam. The full length version of this film, with the definitely not-so-happy ending is a darkly comedic look into a dysfunctional hyper-industrial state-controlled not-so-distant future world – where the computer mostly says no. Arguably, the central theme to Brazil is the inhumanity of an Orwellian-type future, where personal rights and freedoms have vanished. Other than for comparison purposes, avoid the American cut of this film at all costs and enjoy the film this film the way Gilliam wanted you to (Klaus Ming February 2009).

4 comments on “Brazil (1985)

  1. Derrick

    Like a lot of Terry Gilliam movies it’s the controversy and behind the scenes i like way more then the stand alone film. I like this film like i like a lot of abstract art but as a film it fails in every regard to be nothing more then eye candy and bizarrity for the sake of bizarrity. Is that a bad thing, no not really, it is annoying to sit through for 2 hours?, yup. Some films need to be just complete craziness, but it doesn’t mean i need to kid myself into thinking i can place the storyline into any type of developed idea.

    In a 1994 interview Gilliam stated “The way i tell stories people always go “eh?” Because i always tell stories in all the wrong order. I’m half way through it and realize i haven’t given them a key bit of information of the beginning. But i do it with such energy and they think somethings happening but its not. Its just noise, but then when i calm down they see I’m reasonably intelligent and seem to be aware of what I’m doing, but its all an illusion”.

    Brazil is when a artistic person gets a producer drunk in the right time right place and gets a budget and canvas to play with. Then when the powers at be realize they cant market the art into commercial film, only then does it get interesting.

    The making of the movie, the film itself, the people behind it, their mindsets and stances are all one thing. That is Brazil. The movie alone is just 2 hours of images haphazardly laced together in a frantic alienating way. Terry Gilliam is a fantastic artist but horrid director. Full of artist angst and ego. Its interesting to note how the history of Brazil mirrors that of Citizen Cane. Too bad Brazil’s storyline couldn’t have been 10% as affective as Cane or at least comprehensible.

    For typical steam punk, something that has been around since film itself, started with Metropolis, the underdog story against “the man”, one would think Brazil would carry itself into something other than what it is. Post apocalyptic technophobia is one of the easiest genres to develop story wise.

    But again it seems Terry Gilliam is know and loved for his flakiness. Is the movie challenging or saying anything, no not really. Terry Gilliam remade Metropolis, badly. There’s nothing in it you cant get out of earlier issues of Heavy Metal Magazine, do you need to see it, yes, but be warned its a Terry Gilliam movie you get what you get.

    I’m only relieved that he grew out of Brazil. 12 Monkeys,made ten years later and Tideland, a decade after Monkeys shows that hes actually learning how to make something digestible. Eye candy is fine but too much of it cramps the crap factory. Brazil is a cramped up crap factory.

  2. klausming

    So you didn’t like Brazil? – ­čśë which version did you watch? The American version has a completely different and unsatisfactory ending. I agree that Gilliam has made better movies since, 12 Monkeys being one of my favorites, but strongly disagree that Brazil was incomprehensible. While it may have suffered from artistic visions not being fully realized, Gilliam’s comedic angle on the Big Brother state is hilarious and intriguing. And while the behind-the-scenes stuff that he so often documents depicts projects that often go awry (my favorite being Lost in La Mancha (2002)), the style, set design, costuming and casting of any Terry Gilliam movie are a testament to his unique direction and vision as an artist and film-maker.

  3. Derrick

    i watched the directors cut from Criterion

  4. Pingback: The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) « MiNG Movie Reviews

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This entry was posted on 02/26/2009 by in 1001 List, 1980s, All, Top 100 and tagged .
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