Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Zero Theorem (2014)


You know what before I go anywhere I want to try to explain the plot of this movie. And you know what I am going to do something I have never done before... Borrow the explanation from good old IMDB: A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.

Yup that's the explanation. But you know what I'm going to sum it up a little better... A guy, Qohen, does nothing for a whole movie while occasionally cool scenes and graphics happen around him. Oh and Matt Damon channels his inner Philipp Seymour Hoffman.

Listen, this is a Terry Gilliam film. The man behind the lens for Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and his oft regarded masterpiece - Brazil. He is a legend. When you go into a Gilliam film you understand that you will be witnessing film, as seen through the mind of an artist that though perhaps not always on point... never short of imagination and originality.

I hate to be a bother, but Nurse? I'll need to see some ID. 

So was this film good? Yes. Was it great? No. Hell I'm not even sure it was good. But it wasn't bad... see the thing is the idea is sound. The future as seen through the imagination of the screen writer, Pat Rushin, and the eye of Gilliam, is a sea of ads and non purpose. One scene in particular with people carrying around their tablets at a party struck a particular sort of mock genius. Another has a laundry list of "don'ts" by way of signs posted to the side of a park. These ideas, and the as expected, amazing visuals, help to create a very interesting world. The trouble is... they really do nothing with it.

I mean Christopher Waltz is brilliant, the supporting cast is brilliant, but other than a few scenes, they really have  nothing to do. As this film is about proving that there is nothing to existence, is that in fact the message within the nothingness of the film? Oooooo I'm over thinking. Really though why is it just when we begin to unravel the possibilities of the Zero Theorem and the supposed connection between body and soul... and love as a possible counter to the zero theorem? Maybe? The film ends and really you are left with 100 minutes of a 107 minute movie that was Mr. Waltz in a broke down building looking awkward.

Still enticing but hardly a masterpiece. Yes. I get it. There is a large group of people that will pull a ton of messages out of this film. They will call them "Deeper Truths" and tell you that you just didn't get it, and this is thinking man's scifi. You know what, F em. 12 Monkeys was thinking man's scifi and it had a coherent plot. Brazil was a twisted mind wrap, and yet it was enjoyable and coherent. Hell, even The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus still came together for a pay off in the end. This film carries a heavy message and even manages to involve you a little more than it has any right to thanks to the wonderful acting... but at the end of the day, no real payoff, and nothing really.

Just a naked guy standing in water.


It is a visual wonder. The moments that really move you, are so beautiful you wait for them to involve... become something more... but then often end almost as soon as they begin. Terry Gilliam is a director who I will always follow. And Christopher Waltz is an actor that demands to be witnessed.... but here, the story was big, and bold, and could have been the kind of story to stay with the word decades from now... as it is. I imagine it as simply Kinda kool, and really weird. Just feels they know the answer... they being the filmmakers... and really forgot to let you in on it.

movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Scifi Scale 3 out of 5 stars.

ONE LINE REVIEW - Artsy. Confusing. Confusion. 

As I am with any Terry G flick my hopes are set perhaps too high. A last thought the female lead Melanie Thierry was great. I dare say she held her own more than easily alongside Mr. Waltz. No small task. Well done!

- Charles B. Boonsweet

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