Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem
In The Zero Theorem Terry Gilliam borrows way too much from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (overcrowded megacity glutted with advertising; the meaning of existence; blonde in tight skirt; pigeons) and his own film Brazil (bureaucratic dystopia; totalitarian control; bizarre computers; unlikely relationship; escape into fantasy; tubing) to be an experience as refreshing and original as The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. In addition, Gilliam allows his performers to slip into weirdness to the detriment of the story's essential seriousness. Here, Christoph Waltz plays an agoraphobic, misanthropic computer hacker assigned the job of proving a perplexing theorem that suggests that life has no meaning – while at the same time trying to determine the meaning of life. Despite a promising first scene, and a number of arresting images, Gilliam leaves us with a disappointing resolution, whereas a more spectacular denouement seems to be promised by the film’s opening image. Still, I can’t help but marvel at the amazing detail and outlandish, Pythonesque weirdness of Gilliam’s expansive imagination.