Brazil (1985)

The world of BRAZIL is one of technological nightmares; a world devoid of life, where status and information have taken the place of love and happiness. The government has become so overly-concerned with efficiency and control that it has simply lost touch with the meaning of the two. It is in this world that we first meet Sam Lowry, a government paper-pusher who frequently retreats from his job at the Ministry of Information into the sanctity of his mind, where he dreams of flying freely over green pastures to meet the woman of his dreams. When he awakens, he finds himself caught in the midst of a bureacratic foul-up that has sentenced an innocent man to death while allowing an underground terrorist to continue subverting the "status quo." Lowry becomes entangled with the elusive Archibald Tuttle while attempting to settle the affairs of the now-deceased Archibald Buttle, which leads him to discovering that the woman of his dreams is very much a reality. It is then up to Sam to save this mysterious woman when she becomes the next unwitting victim of a government gone mad!

BRAZIL is one of Terry Gilliam's finest films, and one whose social significance is perhaps more relevant now than ever before in an age where information and accessibility have taken such a prevalent role in our daily lives. Many of the darker themes involving the government's oppression of its people are broken up by Gilliam's light-hearted humor. We take great joy in laughing at the absurdity on screen, while recognizing that BRAZIL is as much a black comedy as it is a sad reflection of our own bitter reality. The talented cast is led by Jonathan Pryce as our reluctant hero, Sam, who is thrust into a world of political upheaval despite all of his efforts to remain unnoticed. Pryce is wonderful in the role, as he is able to point out the lunacy of all that surrounds him with a range of frustrated looks and snide remarks. He is joined by Robert De Niro and Katherine Helmond in leading roles, with brilliant appearances by Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Richardson as government busybodies who try desperately to uphold a system that is falling apart around them. The incredible production design imagines a future in which the technology has become terribly outdated, where tiny computer screens are viewed through gigantic magnifying glasses and ugly metal ducts protrude from every building in the name of "efficiency." It is no wonder that Sam chooses to dream of the open country when he is locked inside the cold, cement prison walls of the city.

Bleak and depressing, yet utterly entertaining at the same time, Terry Gilliam captures the perils of a not-too-distant future with clever wit and satire. BRAZIL is essential viewing for any film fan, and a unique experience that is unlike any other.

Rating: 10/10.

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  1. Love this flick! Terry Gilliam, both barrels (before Hollywood blanded him out).

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  3. jervaise brooke hamsterMarch 24, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Such a shame this was British made rubbish, if it had been American made it might have been a good film.