Brazil

Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for language and some scary moments)

Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Written by: Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown
Produced by: Arnon Milchan
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Ian Holm, Katherine Helmond, Michael Palin, Bob Hoskins, Robert DeNiro
Studio: Universal Pictures

A slogan ironically reads, "Suspicion breads confidence" and in this day and age where we are all slammed by terror on the news from the day-to-day goings of life this slogan is true. Yet is that the correct attitude to bring upon people? Doesn't that just make people more paranoid and fearful of the world? Still our governments and commercial newspapers couldn't care because they are all about power and money. For example, republican parties who breed off our fear of terrorism own a lot of American newspapers. Brazil is a film that also manages to speak out against consumerism (Think Fight Club) and create one of the most elaborate pieces of cinema ever.

Terry Gilliam is a controversial director who creates contemporary art house cinema through mainstream Hollywood. He's been famous for having battles over the running time for Brazil with the producers back in 1985 and also sometimes has trouble getting his projects the rights to be made. So why does one of the greatest directors with one of the most creative minds have the misfortune of becoming shunted to one side by pointless action movies? The fact is Terry Gilliam gives out very controversial messages through his films, which are normally against an important dilemma the world is facing. I think Terry Gilliam is one of the most important directors because of his attitude towards our future and gives out very powerful messages through his crazy mind-bending films.

Brazil is not a film that you'll often come across often, but anybody who knows anything about film would be able to tell that it has Terry Gilliam's trademark style stamped all over it. Brazil's message and stand points about the world we live in are far from subtle and are seen in pretty much the first 5 minutes of the film. The bleak opening on Christmas Eve where the shop window that has TV sets on display explodes to reveal a pink neon sign entitled "Brazil". Another important aspect of the film is the use of mirrors that represent the reflection of the lives people wished they lived hidden behind their false smiles.

Not so much as the quirky close up camera angle with a man on a typewriter and trying to swat a fly reveals the evil nature and quick bursts of annoyance that people have. There's a strange sort of menace to the whole opening segment, filled with dark humour showing how the police force say "we never make mistakes" then realising they got the name wrong of the man they had humiliated and dragged away in a straight jacket. Then dropping the piece of flooring needed to replace the hole where the police had invaded through. This short sequence sums up the sarcastic and cruel humour than Brazil has throughout the running time.

Brazil is visually depressing because of the situation and horror you are being faced with, but done with such skill that you can see the beauty and hard work behind it. When watching Brazil you get a sense of freedom and escapism, you can tell so much effort has been put into a piece of work like Brazil. The set pieces and general design layout the film has is unlike no other and perfectly creates the nightmarish utopia. The editing works wonderfully and fits in place with the movie's slow paced feel. The characters are some of the best and most hilarious characters ever put on screen, reminding you of the Monty Python days Gilliam helped create. The music is very atmospheric and somewhat amusing at times. The cinematography is different to how most films work and makes these sought of dizzying camera shots of a "world gone mad".

The cast has my favourite mixtures of talent with the likes of Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin and Ian Holm who all are important elements of the crazy story. Every single character is over the top and exaggerated with such brilliance that you'll be hard done not to find it very amusing. Everybody seems to work excellently with the fast paced script designed to draw you into every character's crazy mind. The script adds the feeling the characters are going through and the romance part of the film is a great touch. I love the cartoon style feel the movie has and the wonderful array of British actors to add to the film's cast.

Mixing futuristic fantasy and hilarious comedy, Brazil continues to hold up as one of the most imaginative, original and creative films ever made. Brazil is one of the finest technical accomplishments in cinema and the wonderful techno 60s look that all these machines have. So Brazil is a very depressing, bitter and ugly image of our future, but one that seems far more realistic than you may have thought. I think over the years Brazil has become more and more prolific which shows how fast our world is changing and not for the better.

The film shows how people create dreams to hide away from their dull and tedious little lives. Not only is the film to be viewed and found meaning on so many different levels, it can also be studied and has become very influential to the creativity found in many "off-the-wall" director's works. The dream sequences in the film are very relaxing and tranquil with an arty sense of a colourful world outside this industrial driven city.

12 Monkeys and Brazil work as a fine double bill at showing zany visions of what our world is coming to. Brazil is easily one of the finest films ever made and creates something that will always be edged into your mind. Easily one of the best films ever made. Hilarious, emotive, sardonic, complex and imaginative, so what is reality?

Bob Hoskins makes his entertaining appearance in Brazil.
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