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.
Sam is joined by a crew of heating repairmen when in dire straits, and the madness continues.
Brazil is a film that at it's core is one man's crazy idea mixed up
with beautiful sets and great gadgets to create a move that is fun and
bright. With a fun if not dark story, it goes along and serves to
entertain and with acting to match the insanity going on in the plot of
the film, you should enjoy the madness. I personally felt the film was
firmly good, I did feel it was overrated but still, it is a good movie.
The story is strange but good and what ever goes down in it is fun and
bright and only serves for you to enjoy it. It isn't an easy story to
predict either and with some quirky going's on you can't help feel
thrilled by this piece. A thing that really stands out about the plot
is that it's in this weird dystopian future where everything is done
differently and you feel as if you have literally woken up in Terry
Jonathan Pryce in the main role is good in portraying his odd character
who seems to be the only one who see's how flawed society is, and with
strong support from the likes of Robert De Niro, you can see why this
film is rated so highly. The characters are pretty much all crazy and
meeting anyone of them in real life would be a challenge, they are fun
to see though and it always seem's that Pryce's character is put into
different situations constantly and it is great to see how they all
Terry Gilliam at the technical helm as Director and one of the writers
makes this film fun and creates a smart feeling film, but I couldn't
help feel that the script isn't that smart and I fail to see why some
rate this THAT highly. I did love the sets and even when using small
toy sets for large shots, it works perfectly and you will see what I
mean when De Niro zip lines from buildings, it is kind of funny to just
see the little toy fly down into the streets, the sets work very well
though and pass for reality.
Criticisms well, the story is very stuffy and chocked full of things to
get a grip on and so if you started watching about a quarter way
through, you would be already be lost forever. I didn't feel the
British feel of the film paid off well as the film is full of
Brit's(and a few famous from UK TV) but they fail to materialise into a
hilarious film. One more thing is the overrating, the story is good as
I have said but it isn't cutting edge and although the idea is cool, it
isn't executed to perfection, and is why I didn't rate it as a great
film as so many others do.
Those who like Gilliams work will be superbly pleased with this as his
quirky ideas and mind pay off in this to create well, a quirky story. I
also felt that people who like a cult classic kind of film to be a part
of, this may be for you as the film has genuine feeling to it and even
the ideas can sometimes be used in are society today. People who want a
straight serious film then don't see it as the quirkiness makes it kind
of funny at times, and takes any serious Drama parts away for good.
Overall a high 7/10 from me, felt it was Firmly Good but as I say not any more
so than that. This is a film I feel you should enjoy and if you have
seen his work before then definitely you will, but if you also want a
crazy film, set in the future then this really really really for you
because, that is what it is. The kind of film to put your feet up to
and just enjoy, you may even come out with a few new ideas on what or
who is running society in our world today.
Saw this on 27/12/14
Brazil is about a man who lives in his dreams. In 1995, Gilliam made 12 Monkeys, a film about a man living in his own past and for those who liked that, this will also be good. Gilliam has referred Brazil, 12 Monkeys and The Zero Theorem to be three of his dystopian sci-fi movies and the latter film concludes the series, however, it was a big time dud. Brazil has funny music, but at times it is filled with dark scenes which you can only find on Gilliam's films.
The story centres around a government worker who, while working his way to promotion, becomes obsessed with a woman he sees frequently in his dreams. After a mix-up causes a man to be wrongfully incarcerated and killed, his paperwork duties leads him to seeing a woman who resembles his dream girl. Obsessed with finding her, he goes absurd and dangerous lengths to find and woo her. This inevitably causes him to risk his job and his life.
Brazil, one of the weirdest films I have ever seen, is a brilliant satire of consumerism, strong governments, and the role fantasy can play in a man's life.
The cinematography and art direction are nothing less than the typical bizarre imagery one must expect from a Gilliam film. It is funny, poignant, and even a little bit sad at times. Highly recommended.