Thursday, 21 January 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 127

465 - 12 Monkeys - 3 stars

One of the few Gilliam films to find mainstream success, and achieved within the constraints of the studio system, normally the kiss of death for a Gilliam movie.
James Cole is from an alternate future where most of the world's population has been wiped out by a virus. Cole is sent back in time to try and determine the source of the virus, but is plagued by a recurring dream that might change his fate.
This is a clever, well plotted film that includes a beautiful Vertigo reference that has a huge bearing on the story. Visually this is a companion piece to Brazil in terms of style, particularly the scenes in the future.
Gilliam has a knack of getting something special from actors that are not known for versatility (Robin Williams in Fisher King, Michael Palin & De Niro in Brazil for example), and does the same in this film with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. Willis was on the back of Pulp Fiction and going through a serious acting phase and is very impressive in this role. In fact, decent Willis performances can normally be identified as those movies in which he does not wear a toupee or other form of hairpiece.

Days remaining - 238 Films remaining - 313

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