12 Monkeys

Critics Consensus

The plot's a bit of a jumble, but excellent performances and mind-blowing plot twists make 12 Monkeys a kooky, effective experience.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 70

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 391,110

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Movie Info

Traveling back in time isn't simple, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) learns the hard way. Imprisoned in the 2030s, James is recruited for a mission that will send him back to the 1990s. Once there, he's supposed to gather information about a nascent plague that's about to exterminate the vast majority of the world's population. But, aside from the manic Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), he gets little in the way of cooperation, not least from medical gatekeepers like Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe).

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Critic Reviews for Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys)

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (8)

  • This dystopian time-travelling sci-fi is a reminder that the director can make films that are visually inventive, intellectually engaging and downright exciting.

    October 12, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • While all of Gilliam's movies are worth seeing, there's a fair amount of his designer grimness here mixed in with the cabaret comedy.

    May 27, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Neither as visually compelling as Brazil nor as emotionally gripping as The Fisher King.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Gilliam gives the material a lunatic poetry of his own, but remains impervious to the requirements of narrative pacing.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Dark and somber like Blade Runner, this sci-fi is a spectacular mess, a convoluted film with too many ideas for its own good, blending (among other things) the virus thriller with the post-apocalyptic genre.

    August 12, 2005 | Rating: B-

    Emanuel Levy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • There's always overripe method to his madness, but in the new 12 Monkeys Mr. Gilliam's methods are uncommonly wrenching and strong.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys)

  • Jul 08, 2016
    This movie started out really weirdly and about a third of the way through I almost turned it off. But after about a third of the way through the film starts filling out in the story and keeps you guessing about if the reality Bruce Willis' character is living is real or not.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2015
    Pretty good but it pales in comparison to its source material so much. And honestly, I just simply don't like Gilliam's direction.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 01, 2015
    Most time travel stories are hard to understand but this one just doesn't give the viewer any chance of understanding for a long time, We are forced into being spoon fed the plot in small doses and none of it makes much sense for a long time or fits into what's happening on screen at the time, Plus the very misleading name of the film will only be a giant middle finger to people trying to make sense of the plot, Having said that it makes the crazy story more exciting it's also very unpredictable, All the cast were great but I did enjoy Brad Pitts character more than any, It had a great ending that worked well with the dark mood of the film, It won't appeal to many but people that will watch it and can understand it will love it.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2015
    Well thought out, though still possessed of some issues, 12 Monkeys is a film unlike anything else Terry Gillam has done before or since, a neat sci-fi that endears itself to almost all who watch it (myself included), regardless of what could be said about it objectively.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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