Brazil (1985)

by missizziemcguinness


‘What have you done with his body?’

Terry Gilliam directs Brazil, a fantasy movie about a guy who works at the Information retrieval called Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) who tries to track down the women of his dreams Jill (Kim Griest) while he competes against poorly run machines in a dystopian society.

Terry Gilliam’s work is certainly distinguishable. The only other Gilliam film that I’ve seen is The Zero Theorem but Gilliam knows what he wants in this film. I was recommended this film by a lecturer at college. Indeed, Brazil is a little dated and some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy e.g I love you in my dreams is only ok within the context of the film but it does come across as being a bit stalkerish.

Some of it is all too relevant. It starts off as a movie that is very similar to my dystopian story but dwells into a homage to Orwell’s 1984. It is relevant because of the frequent terrorist attacks/scares that we have nowadays, people are always watching us and nobody stands still in the movie, making us feel tight and claustrophobic. I liked how he would be doing something like protecting himself from bombings then it would cut to his fantasy life that becomes more and more semi-hallucigenic to the point where it is a living nightmare and he also hears voices as well.

Jonathan Pryce was decent in the role. His looks reminded me of an old fashioned black and white movie actor but his character reminded me of a hapless romantic in a world run by machines. Kim Griest was ok with her regular ‘Don’t touch it!’ line but there was a bit of a jump in her and Sam’s relationship but that didn’t really matter. Robert Deniro was interesting and you could tell that it was him from his screen presence.

Although I found some bits quite nightmarish, I liked the symbolism. Maybe he wore armour in his dreams to distinguish from a night in shining armour to an impatient bloke who just wants to get his girl, and he has wings because it is a bit like a fairytale in his dreams. His dreams are usually destroyed by explosions. I found it quite sad that his mother cared more about her plastic surgery and appearance than she did about him. We too are also obsessed with what we look like and eventually most of them ended up looking like creepy plastic dolls. Maybe that’s a metaphor for something.

Anyway, incredible actors, fantastic scenery which doesn’t take over the film or the actor’s performance and a good film which is cheesy and weird at times e.g the bloated baby mask that haunts Sam.  It is also one of those films that allow you to use your interpretation into how it ends or what the characters do.

Also stars Ian Richardson and Ian Holm.