60/60 Review #12: Brazil.

Note: For reference, there are apparently 2-3 versions of this film. I caught the longest version, which was about 2 and a half hours long.


I knew going into this movie that it was a strange dystopian film. But that's about all I knew. But when I fell asleep for about fifteen minutes (tiredness, not boredom) and woke up to see a guy in a suit of armor with wings running from zombie-esque creatures and fighting a giant samurai, I was really like... WTF? Of course, I rewound it and caught what I missed and then finished the movie. But still, overall, the movie is a total mindfuck.

For those that don't know, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) works for a world-running corporation that, due to a clerical error, makes a mistake and takes away (and eventually kills) the wrong man. Who they meant to take was Tuttle (Robert De Niro), one of many terrorists who fight against the oppressive government. Sam must also deal with his overbearing mother (Katherine Helmond), who is getting a major reconstructive facial surgery from her doctor (Jim Broadbent). He also has to deal with other people who work for said corporation, like his boss (Ian Holm), a couple workers (including Bob Hoskins), and a friend named Jack (Michael Palin). Sam ends up in the middle of a conspiracy when he sees a woman of his dreams (literally) named Jill (Kim Greist) and tries to figure out who she is.

That's the sanest way to describe this movie. Visually, it's fantastic. The basic visual style alone looks much more modern and clearer, especially considering this was made in the 80s. But then there's all the special stuff, like all the set designs and the fantasy sequences where Sam imagines himself flying and all sorts of things happen. It's a wonderful film to look at.

It's also pretty funny. Most of its entertainment comes from some wacky comedy. The characters can be a hoot and are written well. And the actors do well to show this. Though the whole thing isn't a comedy. One of the strange things about the film is its inconstant tonal shifts. Sometimes its funny, sometimes absurd, sometimes dead serious, sometimes freaky... it just depends on how it feels at the moment.

I don't necessarily have any major issues with the film. A lot of people complain that the movie takes forever to go anywhere and they get bored. I can honestly say I wasn't really ever bored with it, and it didn't bother me that it didn't seem to go anywhere at first (OK, so the first 30-45 minutes or so did drag at times, but it didn't bug me too bad). I can't even say that the movie eventually went off the rails; the movie was never on the rails. It's just insane through and through.

I honestly don't know how to review this movie. It's... too strange. I think I liked it. I know I didn't dislike it. It's been a day since I've watched it, and I still can't wrap my head around it. I know everything was metaphorical and/or allegorical and whatnot... but yeah. I really have nothing else I can say. So I guess I'll just leave it at that. It's an entertaining and well made yet thoroughly bizarre film.


(P.S. That wraps up "Foreign" Month. Tune in next week when I transition into "Comedy" month with my transitional film, Kentucky Fried Movie.)


  1. Yup, sounds like a Gilliam flick.

    I really need to watch this again...it's been too long.

    As for you, just watch it again in 6 months or a year...then again a year later. I'm sure it'll all make sense eventually. Or not. But it'll still be fun.

  2. Embrace the absurdity! Embrace it! I didn't think it was that confusing. It deals heavy in dream logic and dabbles in mythology, but I felt there were some interesting ideological connections Gilliam was making throughout the film.

    Then again, I thought Tron: Legacy had a deep message..

  3. This movie reminds of a Vonnegut novel. It too has slap stick-y comedy moments but the comedy adds to the dystopia not detracts in my viewing. It's horrible to have the world run by nazis, but to have the world run by INCOMPETENT nazis is even worse.

    Lazarus Lupin
    art and review


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