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

Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys) Reviews

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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.
July 19, 2016
4.9 on 10

Love this movie.

Recommend.
July 17, 2016
Terry Gilliam's wonderfully weird and wild style is on full display in this sci-fi masterpiece.
July 13, 2016
20 Jahre alt und immer noch groß!
Super Reviewer
July 8, 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.
July 7, 2016
the only good thing about this movie is brad pitt's performance. the rest of the movie blows and so does terry gilliam.
½ June 17, 2016
Extremely confusing, but that's exactly what holds your attention.
June 12, 2016
Excellent sets and performances, with a plot that has you questioning what is real throughout.
½ June 11, 2016
A visually-time comedy, a fine performance and fixed time travel twist in the end make 12 monkeys a spectacular sci-fi film close to Blade Runner.
May 31, 2016
Cole heads back to the past to find ground zero that results in the death of billions of people.
May 24, 2016
For people who think the world is insane with its always growing consumption pattern, this movie will be a real good get-away.
½ May 1, 2016
An expertly executed movie.
April 16, 2016
Apparently I don't enjoy Terry Gilliam films as much as other people do. Brad Pitt was over the top in an unconvincing way, and the conclusion was not as profound as I think they meant it to be.
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