Brazil - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Brazil Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 5, 2007
Gilliam's funny and disturbing commentary on a modern society (only half pretending to be about some imaginary "other place" yet spot on accurate about our own after 30 years!) that sort of protects us all while sort of feeding on us is beyond price. Jonathon Pryce is spot on as a Stan Laurel everyman haplessly trying to right an impossibly wrong world. And the title? Its a dream destination that no one ever gets to.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2011
A tour-de-force of dark comedy, terror, whimsy, and insufferable bureaucracy.
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2014
Terry Gilliam's Brazil is a highly engaging black comedy that uses a dystopian society as its backdrop, and puts a unique twist on the genre, and through Gilliam's camera lens, it's a truly bizarre and memorable vision. The dystopian genre is very interesting, and it's one that is always exciting to see what they'll come up with it. With Brazil you have something totally different, you have hints of humor thrown into the film's storyline, and it adds something to the enjoyment of the film. Dystopian society films are often dark, nightmarish portraits of a society, but with this film we get something very different. The formula here has been reworked to give the storyline a bit more range than your standard dystopian film, and in turn it makes for a truly engaging experience. In the hands of Terry Gilliam, you have a well crafted picture with some truly stellar performances from its cast, especially from lead actor Jonathan Pryce who lights up every scene that he's in. Brazil is a great film, one that succeeds at delivering a different take on your standard dystopian society film, and in the hands of Terry Gilliam, he crafts a standout picture that is sure to please genre fans looking for something a bit different. Brazil is eccentric in the way that it's told, and it makes for a truly entertaining two and a half hours. If you enjoy Gilliam's work, you're sure to enjoy this. What makes Brazil great is the fact that it has your standard dark, atmospheric elements than are synonymous with the genre, but there are also lighter touches comic relief to really make it stand out among other films. Brazil is great filmmaking and one of the finest dystopian society films I've seen. With a great mix of comedy and serious content, Brazil is a standout genre film that elevates the bar and makes for a truly worthwhile viewing experience.
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2007
A brilliant mad mess of a movie concerning a simple, mousy man (Jonathan Pryce), who is stuck to a boring, dead-end job in an Orwellian future, but still has big dreams of what he wants to become. The humor is pitch-black, the acting is precisely over the top, and the story is jammed packed with sublime jabs at society's clinging to clutter that is not making us better in the long run. The film's delightfully silly take on bureaucracy is a huge driving point to its success, where Gilliam continually finds ways to spice up his story while never missing a chance to take a swipe at something he hates. Not everyone's cup of tea to be sure, but besides "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", this is Gilliam's masterstroke. Although the relationship between Pryce and dream-girl Kim Greist could have used more work, with Greist's performance failing to leave a lasting impression, the story still succeeds on virtually every front. Not a perfect film, but very close to one.
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2012
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2011
I have never been a major Gilliam fan. I saw Time Bandits when I was young and I think it might have scarred me.
However, Gilliam's unique visual style works incredibly well in this futuristic satire. He expertly blends absurdist humor with the right amount of realism. Making his critique of bureaucratic inefficiency very potent.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2012
This film is literally 1984 on steroids. Fantastic and one of Terry Gilliam's best!!
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2012
Brazil is easily unlike any other film I've seen before. Composed of epic set pieces that are both unexpected and beautiful, the film is a profoundly unique, darkly comedic satire on the flaws of a bureaucratic government that has been dumbed down by faulty technology. However as phenomenally creative this film is, it's one that will require numerous rewatches to unravel the high-concept complexities of the film in terms of both plot and visual style. But to end my rambling, Brazil is without question one of the most exquisite and invaluable pieces of filmmaking I've ever seen!
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2007
As I've always slated this film without completing I thought I would give this the full viewing that my Flixster friends request. Over 2 and a half hours later, I can confirm, that I completely agree with my original review, it was painful to watch and whilst I do appreciate the creativity and ideas here, I truly cannot see it's brilliance that so many others can.
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2007
Mired in poor presentation for years, Terry Gilliam's masterpiece Brazil was eventually released the way that it was meant to be seen by the good folks at the Criterion Collection. It's an amazing amalgam of poetry and prose juxtapositioned against a lavish backdrop of an unnamed society in a time and place that none of us had seen before. Much like Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, the film was very much ahead of its time and wasn't immediately recognized as a great piece of film until later... much like a lot of Gilliam's work. It has one marvelous cast, incredible set and costume design, terrific performances and a great story about a bureaucratic and uncaring nobody who becomes more of a somebody, only to ultimately change at the end. For those who haven't seen it, I won't spoil it, but trust me on this. Brazil is a thought-provoking work of art and it's quite possibly Gilliam's finest work.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
A hilarious and frightening black comedy from the imagination of Terry Gilliam. Also boasts a fantastic supporting role from Robert DeNiro.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2007
Weirdness galore! I wonder what Terry Gilliam was smoking when he made this one. In any case, it's sadly not as good as I had been led to believe. I mean, I'm all for imaginative film-making, but this didn't really float my boat. Instead of a marvellous fantasy voyage, all I got out of this was a less-than-amazing mind trip. Too random and offbeat, and I didn't care much for its visual design. The type of movie that pretentious film critics loves to hail as a masterpiece, while regular Joe's like me spend most of the time looking at the watch. Very original though, I'll give it that much.
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2010
One of the most subversive films ever made, Brazil crosses genres including sci-fi, noir, fantasy, and the always prolific social commentary. The certainly dystopia laden atmosphere of Brazil is like nothing portrayed, mixing dark comedy and a suppressive society, balancing each other with undertones of Chaplin's slapstick, and Monty Python ink black English humor, culminating in sensory overload, a visual and distinctive film overall. Besides predicting the rise of televisions in the home and a branded plot point of loss of personality by way of conformism, Gilliam is indeed honoring the book 1984 (He has said the film was an ode, but that he'd never read it.) The film broaches the subjects of drastic plastic surgery, a thirteen year long war with terrorism, intense interrogation, and government cover-ups, all culminating in scenes of either intense violence or satirizing humor. Following the meager interruption in the literal machine that is the setting, a small bug changes the fate of one man, and a ripple effect leads to his death, and a large scale government cover-up, thwarted by a lowly worker's involvement with a woman he only sees in his dreams. Said to be part of Gilliam's dream trilogy, this is the second and darkest of these, the ending and subsequent message of suppressive and yet obviously superior beings keeping all independence and freedom stifled as our future, was more complex than the usual fair of the genre. It leads us by the nose to believe that there is nothing more than mere whimsy as a subtext, and then gently reminds us that reality is not the idealized vision we've been led to believe. A couple things are dated, but overall it's more culturally relevant today than when it came out, begging the question whether it's science fiction, or merely a parody of our times. Bob Hoskins, Robert De Niro, and Michael Palin pop up in cameos, each given a distinct character and hilarious pretense to follow, adding extra color to a rainbow of a film. It's fun, it's thoughtful, and has nothing to do with South America, this is Brazil.
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2007
When "Information Retrieval" accidentally picks up a Mr. Buttle rather than a Mr. Tuttle for interrogation, lowly bureaucrat Sam Lowry finds himself butting heads with his own department---a situation complicated by the fact that he's just found his dream girl, and he thinks she may be an anti-government terrorist. Brilliant, Kafkaesque dystopian satire set "somewhere in the 20th century" (and does it ever savage the century), BRAZIL makes paperwork simultaneously hilarious and terrifying.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2007
The first half hour is great, but the rest is terribly boring and hard to follow. Jonathan Pryce and Robert DeNiro are very good; every other performance is bad or overdone. The best thing about this film is the set design/art direction (fantastic); the score is nice too. Loved the reference to Eisenstein's "Bronenosets Potyomkin"...
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
A crazy, strange, fantastic sci-fi fantasy movie. Gilliam's brilliant sci-fi has a good cast, interesting characters, a fantastic story, and an unique visual style. This is a must see for all fans of sci-fi.
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2010
If Douglas Adams had written "Nineteen Eighty Four", this is what it would be like. A film that ranks with the sci-fi genre's finest films you have to see this to the very end. This should be a required watching for anyone who loves science fiction, I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2009
If you haven't already seen Brazil, you're in for a world of "what the?" once you delve into the inner workings of Terry Gilliam's mind, represented onscreen by this cinematic gem. The timeless story of Sam Lowry, a little cog in a big machine who dreams of growing wings, is incredible cinema and one of the best things to sprout from the twisted garden of Terry Gilliam's subconscious ever.

When a typo causes a man to be killed by mistake, the system set up around the lives of the general public begins to crumble slightly. And when Sam Lowry glimpses the girl of his dreams (literally) he decides to stop at nothing to get to her. All this and more set in a dystopian future where restaurants serve green mash and heating repairmen are forced to turn vigilante in order to preserve the wellfare of the suffering public.

Jonathan Pryce plays our lead, Sam, and he is brilliant. Before he was Elizabeth Swann's befuddled father, he was battling the baffling circumstances he was presented with in Brazil. He goes through a thousand and one things, from battling huge samurai warriors to his heating system acting up and is brilliant throughout. He manages to make us feel the strain, the confusion, the highs and the lows of all the situations he finds himself in with fantastic restraint, akin to Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man. Often roles like this can be mistaken for caricatures and become send-ups of themselves, but Jonathan Pryce brings the perfect amount of quirkiness, innocence and desperation to Lowry which makes the role so believeable, despite the unbelieveable circumstances surrounding him. It's because of him that the entire film stays grounded, at least slightly. Well let's say it keeps us in the atmosphere at least, rather than taking us into orbit. The rest of the cast don't have nearly as much time spent on them, though they deliver great performances, including a fantastically absurd turn from Robert De Niro as Harry Tuttle the repairman and Ian Holm is great as Lowry's boss. Michael Palin is fantastic as Jack Lint. He is typical Palin at first, but he shows a very sinister side which makes it impossible to guage his actual motives at any point.

The script is great; filled with symbolism and quotable lines. It's appropriately absurd, considering the surroundings and it sustains the feeling of uncertainty, as if the entire world is slightly off centre. It's as if there is an entirely different language at play here which we should know, and we are plunged into the middle of it without any warning.

But it is the message of the film which makes it such an enduring classic. As sort of an exciting 1984 with a whole lot more gadgets, Brazil discusses the same topics as the George Orwell novel but in a much more personal way and a much more absorbing format. There is even a parallel that can be drawn between the leads of each story and their journey into the forbidden fruit of love. Gilliam shows the obvious problems with letting the system take over everyday life and the possibility of our personal lives being monitored and controlled by an impersonal system which classifies human beings into numbers on a list. He creates some incredible, indelible images which epitomise the message behind his film and a storyline which boggles the mind. The opening scenes themselves are amazing, especially the introduction to Sam's workplace to some fantastic music. And it only gets better from there, plunging the audience into samurai dreams, car chases and everything else short of actually entering Oz. And sure, the film goes on for about 20 minutes beyond any possible human comprehension, but Gilliam has created what all filmmakers aspire to create: a critically acclaimed, deeply personal statement which will live on timelessly in the minds of audiences all around the world.

Defining Scene:
Sam is joined by a crew of heating repairmen when in dire straits, and the madness continues.

"Has anybody seen Sam Lowry?"
"You're dead." "How about a little necrophilia?"
"Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating."
"Well that's a pipe of a different colour."
"We're all in it together."
"Do you want to see my ID?" "No need, sir" "But I could be anybody." "No you couldn't sir. This is informational retrieval."
"Put it on big boy, I won't look at your willy."
"There's been a little complication with my complication."
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2010
While I don't think it's my favorite Terry Gilliam film, it is undoubtedly a work of art. I think my favorite aspect was the dream sequences, they just looked incredible. The idea is really interesting and extremely cynical, it's very similar to the outlook in 12 Monkeys. The tone of the film fits in nicely with the cast and their oddball performances.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2009
Brazil is one of my favourite movies of all time. Going into the top ten, because I see it as a si-fi. Its a Sci-Fi with credibility and honesty. Pure British and then Rober De Niro (what the frak? But god damn it works) . I'll be waiting for the big budget re-release.
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