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Genre: Comedy Fantasy Drama (UK)
Starring: Jonathan Pryce (Something Wicked This Way Comes • Ronin), Kim Greist (C.H.U.D. • Manhunter)
Directed By: Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas • Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
Overview: A man attempts to rectify a bureaucratic error. Sadly, in such a dystopian future as this, rocking the boat can only serve to make him a wanted man.
Correct me if I'm wrong but Brazil looks like the sort of movie Terry Gilliam would make if he had the proper amount of artistic license, no? With such a producer-stifled, reined-in title as The Brothers Grimm to sully his career, it's good to see what Terry could have done if he didn't have corporate whores hovering over his every move.
Alright, alright, enough hate on the producing business. Without them we wouldn't have such awesome films as Swimming With Sharks or The Player, right? Who am I kidding, all those dead lawyer jokes would work just as well with a producer.
But I digress - Brazil is a rather epic film. From battles between angels and demonic samurai to a set design that is vast and larger than life, the visual spectacle is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Thematically, the influences of director Michael Radford's visual interpretation of 1984 is more than just a little tributary - did I mention the original working title was 1984 and 1/2? Yes, Terry Gilliam's dystopian future of crushing bureaucracy and massive duct work is lighter than the über-bleak George Orwell novel, but while a comedy, it does have some roots in drama, namely the main plot, convoluted as it may often seem.
Simply put, Brazil is the tale of a records expert who notices a bureaucratic error has been made and does a few simple things to remedy the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle. When the wronged party in question ends up dead from interrogation techniques, a love interest springs up and leads our hero down a fever dream of hilarious action, complete with red-tape terrorist Harry Tuttle, a man who fixes heating units without paperwork, which is of course a crime as worthy of death as any kind of treason.
While being mostly insane, Brazil does contain an occasionally poignant scene, mostly brought on by the widow of poor deceased Harry Buttle, which reminds us of the justice that must come to pass. Whether that comes to full realization or not, well, that's for you to find out while strapped to your own inquisitive chair.
Performance: 8 Cinematography: 10 Script: 7 Plot: 8 Mood: 8
Overall Rating: 82% (Copa Your Cabana!)
I will add however that for as much as the film is full of action and quirky comic situations, there was something fundamentally forgettable about Brazil. I know this mainly because I saw this about 20 years ago and had only vague memories of two scenes from the film. While Brazil may be one of those films that restores nostalgia for some, for others, it may be forgotten with some double-think and just a tad of reprogramming in Room 101.
Oh, and that song will get stuck in your head for days.