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.


DeadSpiderEye said...

Life of Brian aside, I'm not a python fan, I do like Gilliam though. He's managed to avoid a inflated reputation, perhaps a little too effectively, he being a little underrated. He's an explorer, that's what like, I don't have patience for those with answers.

Hokahey said...

DeadSpiderEye - I really enjoy Gilliam's imagination. I feel he borrowed too much from his previous films here, but it was still interesting to watch - and so much more stimulating than many of this year's tame and lame failures.