In a mainstream society where movies and writings of dystopia and post-apocalyptia are often defined by attractive young teenagers in worlds of sleek, structured futurism around poor, unruly slum districts, it is refreshing to find a setting that homages the worlds envisioned by old masters the likes of Orwell, Rand, Lang, and Huxley. Though its world might seem dated in terms of today's society, Brazil combines the technology, social issues, and materialism of the 1980s with the styles, mannerisms, music, Noire, and Art-Deco designs of the 1940s- creating a distinct setting of dark urbanity, rampant consumerism, and rigid bureaucracy.
The plotline is thoroughly enjoyable, revolving around a lowly, overclocked government bureaucrat and his quest to acquire the damsel he frequently elopes with in his dreams- whom, in reality, turns out to be a hardened truck driver accused of having ties to an underground terrorist organization. There wasn't a character that I didn't like in this movie, and the dark comedy combined with Monty-Python-esque influences help make for an interesting story that perceives a world of apathy and clueless, all-consuming bureaucratic control.
Overall- good setting, good characters, good plot, good production, good soundtrack, excellent movie.
May 5 2017: Definitely liked it a little better the second time around, especially in HD on a good screen. The setup is fun, with Gilliam clearly having a blast building this world, and he manages some great shots in spite of his over-reliance on blurry-edged extreme-wides, but it goes badly off the rails in the second half (up until the pretty good ending). Everything involving Kim Greist is painful, really painful, especially when it goes full-blown romance. Honestly the interesting stuff seems to be happening mostly off-screen: Harry Tuttle shows up and I'm like, "Ooh, this is suddenly fun!" And then he leaves five minutes later and I'm wishing I could watch a movie about that guy instead.