I am a longtime fan of Terry Gilliam. Brazil and Time Bandits are great movies, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is my favorite film of all time, hands down. That being said, I’ll be the first to admit that his recent work can be uneven (if you saw The Brothers Grimm you’ve probably already forgotten it… and now I’ve reminded you… sorry), so it was with both hope and trepidation that I went into Gilliam’s latest film, The Zero Theorem. The movie showcases the Monty Python alum’s best and worst habits as a filmmaker, but on the whole it comes out ahead.
In many ways, Zero Theorem is a close cousin to Brazil; both feature nebbishy loners seeking meaning in a dysfunctional nearfuture society. Of the two, Theorem conjures a somewhat more fleshed out setting; Brazil, with its soulcrushing bureaucracy at every turn, felt like a bit of a onenotedystopia, more a symbol than a believable world. By contrast, the society depicted in this new film is not so much evil as aggressively superficial, awash in pushy advertisements, with glowing tablets in the hand of every garishly dressed citizen. The technology of this glittering mediacracy is bolted to the surfaces of stately but dilapidated stone buildings a shiny new world build carelessly atop the old one. The satire is overt, but the setting still feels plausible. Read more