Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys) Reviews
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.