Friday, July 16, 2010

#167 Brazil (1985)


Director: Terry Gilliam

Cast: Jonathan Pryce, Katherine Helmond, Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson

A hats-off to Orwell's 1984, Brazil is set a retro-futuristic society under the hand of a tyrannical government, (though it lacks a Big Brother figure). When a fly falls into a printer and causes a printing error, a man is wrongfully arrested, tortured according to someone else's health file, is accidently killed.

Sam Lowry is a man who is working a mind-numbing job somewhere within the government, and daily, he drowns in the sea of paperwork produced by his government. When trying to take an insurance check to the wrongfully-widowed wife, he finds that her upstairs neighbor is the woman of his dreamworld-- a woman that he saves each night in his sleep. Determined to find her, he takes a promotion to The Ministry of Information Retrieval to get access to her file, and he begins his search for her. When she wrongfully gets mixed up as being a terrorist, Sam changes the records to say she is deceased, so they will no longer hunt for her.

The plan, however, backfires, and Sam is arrested. He finds himself in the token 'black bag' and torture chair...
And from there... I'll let the movie be a surprise.

It's confusing, it's fast-paced, and it's also kind of magical. The world in which Sam lives is nothing like our own, (except in terms of cultural mythology). On the same note, however, it is a world we are all too familiar with thanks to the written warning of George Orwell. The surrealistic background upon which the plot takes place is a frantic and frightening one. The enemy is obvious. Paperwork. People in charge. The ones who won't listen. The ones who will "just follow procedure." The ones who will wipe you out.

I feel like the film is somewhat masterfully created and imagined, though I did find many things within the movie that lead it to be hard to understand, and sometimes, hard to tolerate.

Although I feel I have much more to say about this film, I'm going to close this review early on account of tired eyes. I think it's definitely worth seeing, however, especially if you've read 1984.