Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys) Reviews

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½ April 23, 2017
This movie is quite interesting in the paradoxes that it introduces and thrilling in the suspense of how it all plays out, even if you know the end from the beginning. Predestination fiction as a sci-fi mind-bending thriller worth every second.
April 16, 2017
weird ass film. Didn't understand what was going on
½ April 10, 2017
Jennifer just watched this with me for the first time.
½ April 4, 2017
Science Fiction has always been my favorite movie genre. I love seeing the imagination in movies of the genre and many of my favorite films are science fiction movies. This movie has everything which I think is mandatory in time travel movies. It has a great plot which gets you interested in its story line, it has great imagination, and a slightly complex story which requires a couple repeat viewings so you can understand and enjoy the movie more.

In the year 1996, a deadly virus wipes out all humanity and the few survivors live underground to avoid becoming sick themselves. In hopes of finding a cure to the virus, a prisoner named James Cole is sent back in time in order to find a group of people called "The Army of the Twelve Monkeys" who are believed to have started the virus. However, he is sent to the year 1990 by mistake and he meets a few people from that time period who may be able to help him complete his task.

What makes this film so good is that while it can be complex at some times, it keeps you interested and it makes the viewer want to come back for more. The ending kept me thinking about what it meant long after viewing it and I wanted to watch it again after I watched it for my first time. Also, I did like it a lot more on my second viewing. The movie isn't really too complex up until the end, but it does feel a lot different on your second viewing. Also, the airport flashbacks keep on feeling more important every time they are shown. On your second viewing, they have a greater impact on you as you are already aware of what the purpose of them is.

Also, the ending to this film is very well-done. I honestly did not expect that the film was going to end like how it did and it pleasantly surprised me. I'm sure that some were able to predict the ending if they paid close attention to the airport flashbacks, but I didn't notice it because the camera movements during those scenes were really disorienting. Also, the sequences are really hypnotic so it makes it kind of hard to get a clear view of what's happening. When I first watched the movie, I thought that the scene was meant to show numerous people dying from the outbreak since many other people in the background were laying on the floor.

Also, the visuals and production design is up to notch. The unusual camera angles can be impressive at times at hiding big parts to the film (this works exceptionally well in the ending). There are also cleverly timed zooms which demonstrate how small and insignificant our protagonists are. Gilliam's execution in some of these scenes are perfect and they profoundly always win out. Also, the movie does a very great job with the scenes which take place in the future. The scenes which take place in the future feel very top notch and the set design looks high-tech enough to make you convinced that this is actually what the future will look like. Also, the scene where you see how the city above them looks abandoned is pretty good as it looks like the earth has actually been left to rot for several decades.

The performances in Twelve Monkeys are all pretty well-done. Bruce Willis gives his finest performance yet as he displays sensitivity and emotional depth which is not only believable, but it makes the audience aware of his suffering and struggle to find a cure to the virus. Madeleine Stowe manages to show frenzy and energy in her performance without ever overcooking or overdoing it. Those 2 actors carried the movie excellently, but the actor who steals the show is Brad Pitt. He is amazing because he manages to play a convincingly insane and crazy role without ever seeming the slightest bit annoying and he never overacts or overstays his welcome.

Of course, Twelve Monkeys is not for everyone and it isn't perfect. It may be too choppy or jumbled together for some people's tastes. Also, it may take a few viewings for you to be fully entertained by it. However, no movie is objectively perfect and it's easy to overlook these flaws if you run into them. If you're not too impressed with it on your first viewing, you should consider watching it a second time because if you do, you will be in for a great treat which is what happened to me when I re-watched it.

In conclusion, Twelve Monkeys is an outstanding science fiction film which isn't too overly-complicated, but complicated enough to make your 2nd viewing of it feel a lot better and engaging. It also has great acting and great cinematography which convinces you that you are actually in the time periods that the movie takes place in. If you're a huge fan of Christopher Nolan or other complicated films, you will like this movie. There are very few things, if anything, wrong with it and in my opinion, it is one of the best films from the 90's.
March 24, 2017
Amazing sci-fi that makes you think what will happen next.
March 21, 2017
Brilliant movie with Brad Pitt at his finest. This movie was a cult classic as soon as it came out. Highly recommended for those who appreciate the dystopian genre. Involves time travel and a very well put together storyline as well as great acting from Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt and Madeline Stowe.
½ March 19, 2017
When we see a time where it all began that changes everything about the future. When we see ourselves in a places, where we are treated like in cages that we need to see to thst we follow procedures while in captivity. When we naturally keen on seeing things deep in art we also oversee in our job when we are psychiatrist. When we don't see what other people see when the facts are all wrong. When we see that they needed to be treated even further. When we meet others and see their point of view we see others blame the system. When we get to see people whom others see where we belong. When we need to make others see when they don't believe the impossible is about to happen. When we see that it is logical in our head but illogical in others. When we see that there are some people more smarter and easier to talk to then others. When we see that we everyone is crazy. When we see a way out to only come up cornered. When we see that some problems need extra eyes on. When we can't see how some people escape. When we see a time that we are sent to along ago and in the future to know what they mean. When we need to see some people for help.When we see ourselves in the news when we are wanted. When all we see are clues in our memory that takes closer to where we need to go. When we see that we are able to put two and two together and find some truth in what we see. When we some things we mention we can recall and see. When we believe what we are seeing is unreal that we begin to accept we are crazy. When we begin to see the impossible and start to believe. When we see what we continue to replay in our head. When the vary thing we see is the window to what others see to give hope that we could change the future when we only got 1 chance but don't know what to look for before it's too late. When we see there is no hope to predicting such outcomes when the vary thought of seeing through time to change futures is impossible.
February 12, 2017
I almost got it. :-( I w as understanding the individual threads with each time travel, but couldn't weave it together in the end... BUMMER.
January 31, 2017
one of the greatest movies of all time in my personal opinion. I saw it young, would say like 7 and it has influenced my imagination and artwork in so many ways. True best sci-fi/cyberpunk movie. Gritty 90s version and the way its shot is just a dream.
½ January 23, 2017
A beautiful and yet gritty sci-fi tale with a cinematic and enthralling ending. I will now join the Sci-fi cult classic fans.
January 2, 2017
l-am vazut la deva cu rici noaptea. m-a tinut pana la final. aveam impresia ca il stiu de mai demult.
December 19, 2016
This was not what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. A trippy psychological mystery that was enjoyable through VidAngel.
December 3, 2016
beastly movie with an awesome story that keeps you interested throughout. superb acting. memorable characters that keep you emotionally invested. the movie keeps you guessing and wondering. very creative (3 viewings)
½ November 26, 2016
I remember really enjoying this thriller way back when it was released, but having watched it 20+ years later, it just didn't seem as slick as it should be. The visuals are not overly impressive, the story seems awkward at times, and the iffy acting takes away from the believability of characters. Still alright tho, I guess.
½ October 12, 2016
A deadly virus wipes out almost all of humanity in 1996, forcing remaining survivors to live underground. A mysterious group known as the Army of the Twelve Monkeys is believed to be behind the virus. In 2035, James Cole (Bruce Willis) is a prisoner living in a subterranean shelter beneath the ruins of Philadelphia. Cole is selected for a mission, where he is trained and sent back in time to collect information on the virus in order to help scientists develop a cure. Meanwhile, Cole is troubled by recurring dreams involving a foot chase and an airport shooting. Cole arrives in Baltimore in 1990, not 1996 as planned. He is arrested, then hospitalized in a mental institution on the diagnosis of Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe). There he encounters Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), a fellow mental patient with fanatical views. After an escape attempt, Cole is locked in a cell, but soon disappears, returning to the future. Back in his own time, Cole is interviewed by the scientists, who play a distorted voicemail message which discloses the location of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys and asserts their association with the virus. He is also shown photos of numerous people suspected of being involved, including Goines. He is given a second chance to go back in time, but another error results in him arriving at a battlefield of World War I. He is wounded in the leg and then suddenly sent to 1996. In 1996, Railly gives a lecture about the Cassandra complex to a group of scientists. At the post-lecture book signing, Dr. Peters (David Morse) questions her about mankind's sustainability on earth and points out that humanity's gradual destruction of the environment may be the real lunacy. Cole arrives at the venue after seeing flyers publicizing it, and when Railly departs, he kidnaps her and forces her to take him to Philadelphia. They learn that Goines is the founder of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, and set out in search of him. When they confront him, however, Goines denies any involvement with the virus and says that wiping out humanity was Cole's idea at the asylum in 1990. Cole convinces himself that he is insane, but Railly confronts him with evidence of his time travel. They decide to spend their remaining time together in the Florida Keys before the onset of the plague. On their way to the airport, they learn that the Army of the Twelve Monkeys was not the source of the epidemic; the group's major act of protest is releasing animals from a zoo and placing Goines' Nobel Prize winning virologist father (Christopher Plummer) in an animal cage...

Roger Ebert observed 12 Monkeys' depiction of the future, finding similarities with Blade Runner (1982; also scripted by David Peoples) and Brazil (1985; also directed by Terry Gilliam). "The film is a celebration of madness and doom, with a hero who tries to prevail against the chaos of his condition, and is inadequate", Ebert wrote. "This vision is a cold, dark, damp one, and even the romance between Willis and Stowe feels desperate rather than joyous. All of this is done very well, and the more you know about movies (especially the technical side), the more you're likely to admire it. And as entertainment, it appeals more to the mind than to the senses." Desson Thomson of The Washington Post praised the art direction and set design. "Willis and Pitts's performances, Gilliam's atmospherics and an exhilarating momentum easily outweigh such trifling flaws in the script", Thomson reasoned. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone magazine cited the film's success on Gilliam's direction and Willis' performance. Internet reviewer James Berardinelli believed the filmmakers took an intelligent and creative motive for the time travel subplot. Rather than being sent to change the past, James Cole is instead observing it to make a better future. Richard Corliss of Time magazine felt the film's time travel aspect and apocalyptic depiction of a bleaker future were clichés. "In its frantic mix of chaos, carnage and zoo animals, 12 Monkeys is Jumanji for adults", Corliss wrote.

Terry Gilliam is a director who never have and nor will take the easy way. I respect him for that. I reckon every movie he has been involved in has been a chaotic mess with various results. I reckon he needs that sort of project and environment to be able to deliver his best. However, he doesn´t always succeed. With "Twelve Monkeys" Gilliam moves in wellknown territories. The vibe and setting is close to "Brazil" but with a time travel setting. A sort of mix of "Donnie Darko" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with a sci-fi vibe and a nod to how science and biological holocausts can collapse our planet. "Twelve Monkeys" is unique and original in many ways, and the storyline manages to keep the viewer on the right track throughout the movie despite a quite dynamic and fluctuant plot with present and future settings. Gilliam pushes the idea that one can't change the past and there´s a thin line between sanity and madness. The narrative is thought-provoking and I do enjoy that. When re-seeing it today Bruce Willis does Bruce Willis, while Brad Pitt steals most scenes as the warped Jeffrey Goines. What I also noticed is that the film is tainted by the 90s way of making films, lot of close ups and tilted angles. "Twelve Monkeys" is as said unique, but it didn´t create the same impact on me when re-seeing it as it did in 1995. Trivia: "Twelve Monkeys" is inspired by the French short film "La Jetée" (1962); as in "La Jetée", characters are haunted by the image of their own death. After Universal Studios acquired the rights to remake "La Jetée" as a full-length film, David and Janet Peoples were hired to write the script. Under Gilliam's direction, Universal granted the filmmakers a $29.5 million budget and filming lasted from February to May 1995. The film was shot mostly in Philadelphia and Baltimore where the story was set. The film was released to critical praise and grossed $168 million worldwide. Pitt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won a Golden Globe for his performance. The film also won and was nominated for various categories at the Saturn Awards.
½ September 6, 2016
Brad Pitt stole the show!!
September 2, 2016
A busy film designed to make you think whilst also developing the future. Twelve Monkeys is certainly ahead of its time and the influence can be seen on mind bending films today. The usual Gilliam techniques are used on a script that potentially was designed for a very different vision however it is Gilliam's uniqueness that makes this film stand out, let alone the fact that the cast members wanted to work with him whatever the cost. In most cases that was for very little. Gilliam's style combined with the solid a-list cast and performances make the potentially messy plot become overlooked. The absurdity of the narrative makes for intrigue and works with the time-jumping story telling. In hindsight it is definitely the perfect script for a director such as Gilliam. The score can feel out of place, the emotional development of the two leads relationship doesn't feel deep enough and there is a slight lull in the middle however this is a film that must be seen to see classy performances from actors at the start of long careers and a narrative that leaves questions open for you to answer yourself on either a second viewing or in discussion down the local.
August 31, 2016
One of my favorite movies. I was impressed with its portrayal of time travel. "You can't. It already happened". Also, the tragic story makes it more than just a sci-fi picture.
½ August 25, 2016
The concept is absolutely brilliant, and the script and direction all live up to it. Fantastic performances and great production make this twisting sci-fi tale about madness and memory one of the classics.
jamrcla
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2016
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.
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