In the future, a manmade deadly virus has devastated most of Earth, and a convict is sent back in time to 1996 to collect information to help scientists develop a cure. Inspired by Chris Marker’s classic short La jetée.
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A calculated director-for-hire project arranged as a package deal which would utilized a floating-around screenplay and allowed a number of bankable movie stars to be used at a cut-rate price, 12 MONKEYS is very much beholden to Hollywood production formula. It is also one of the few Hollywood films from my teens that I loved then and still love. Exquisitely layered, it is pop culture of uncommon thoughtfulness.
One of the best science fiction films to come out of the 90s. This is one of the better time travel films too. Inspired by Chris Marker's La Jetee, Terry Gilliam delivers a really great film that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Since Blade Runner, in 1982, there wasn't probably a feature sci-fi movie setting the standard so high. Terry Gilliam uses some of his talent for opressive, odd atmospheres, that he had experimented with, 10 years earlier. He has an interesting way of creating/unfolding the narrative, suiting the time travel aspect. Alows Brad Pitt to surprises us and Bruce Willis to reveal himself as a sci-fi habitué. Great cinema!
A cinematic milestone of the '90s, boasting directing and acting bravado, a truly ingenious screenplay and incredible set pieces. And the editing, oh man, the editing... It's one of those rare breeds that successfully engages the viewer intellectually and poses fundamental questions about the world around us while keeping the viewer unapologetically entertained.
Whereas Marker's short was firmly anchored in real political dystopias and offered a unique and revolutionary film form, even via stills, Gilliam's homage to it unfolds as a grotesque celebration of crypto-fascist iconogrpahy, one that this type of sci-fi genre variation is by default being tethered to. It goes without saying that Pitt's performance is ludicrous and Willis' mannered machismo worse than 'Die Hard'.