A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless. But meaning is what he already craves.
Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill's lives are put in danger.Written by
Philip Brubaker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Terry Gilliam had trouble with studio producers over the dark ending he wanted on the movie. The producers wanted a "happy Hollywood" movie, which eliminated (amongst other things) the final transition, and a critical line of dialogue, which reveals the tragic fate of Jill. These changes were made, and this "butchered" version was shown on U.S. television at least once. Gilliam threatened to disown the movie, and consequently the cinematic release, and all videotape versions show the movie essentially as he intended it to be seen (although the U.S. cinematic release still omitted the line about Jill). See more »
When Sam is in Helpmann's office looking at the printer, pre-printed text can clearly be seen on the feeder roll. See more »
[TV commercial jingle]
Central Services: We do the work, you do the pleasure.
TV commercial pitchman:
Hi, there. I want to talk to you about ducts.
See more »
Sidney Sheinberg's name is listed in the credits next to Worst Boy. Terry Gilliam and Sheinberg fought notoriously over the content and release of the film. See more »
The Criterion LaserDisc and DVD version contains both the Sheinberg/TV/"love conquers all" version and what Terry Gilliam believes to be the "final director's cut" (142 minutes). The Universal "bare-bones" DVD contains only the longer version (though it is misidentified on the DVD cover as the American cut)." See more »
Perhaps the most imaginative and entertaining nightmare ever put on film
A virtual celebration of writer/director Terry Gilliam's singular creative vision and seemingly limitless imagination, Brazil is a unique movie experience. And it is kind of hard to put the label of any one particular genre on the film; it's generally referred to as "dystopian science fiction" (which certainly isn't wrong), but it's also a satire, a drama, a black comedy and perhaps even a fantasy film. Like many other dystopian sci-fi films (e.g. Fahrenheit 451, Equilibrium, The Hunger Games), Brazil depicts a totalitarian society, but that's about as far as the similarities with other films go.
The whole design of Brazil's crazy world is unlike anything I've ever seen in other movies (with the exception perhaps of those made by the same filmmaker). Where films with similar themes typically go for a futuristic look that is defined by all the technological advancements the writers and filmmakers can dream of, Terry Gilliam chooses the complete opposite direction. In his film, technology seems to have made no progress since somewhere around the forties or fifties, and what technology there is doesn't exactly look very reliable. And unlike other dystopian films, it's not primarily the bleak aspects of a totalitarian society Gilliam wants to explore; in his film, he wants to show how hilariously insane, inept and ridiculous many of the mechanisms and instruments of oppression truly are. In that sense, Brazil is mainly a satire (at least that's how I perceive it), and it is often either darkly funny or downright hilarious.
There is simply not a dull moment in the film: it's a wild ride that never lets up and almost every image on the screen practically bursts with clever (often hilarious) details; from the way food is served in restaurants to how the benefits of plastic surgery are presented, Gilliam's imagination can only be marveled at. His vision of a bureaucracy gone mad is probably the most entertaining nightmare ever put on film (I'm talking about the director's cut, of course). A masterpiece that gets even better after repeat viewings: 10 stars out of 10.