Brazil (1985)

(On VHS, December 1998) Not many films deserve the to be called “brilliant”, but this is one of them. Obviously rooted in the dystopian frameworks of 1984 and Brave New World, Brazil one-ups them by being a fiercely cinematic work. Director Terry Gilliam seldom disappoints, and the result is a non-stop succession of quirky images and weird angles that doesn’t flag halfway through like many other “high-visual” films. While it is true that the ending drags on for a while, the payoff is worth it. A memorable vision of a bureaucracy gone mad, Brazil is another movie to rent as soon as possible (though you might find it mis-shelved under the category “Comedy”…)

(Second viewing, on DVD, June 2009): I had inordinately fond memories of this film, and it turns out that I had forgotten just how great the film was: Another look kept surprising me with forgotten details, snappy turns of phrase and the film’s insane conceptual audaciousness. A sarcastic dystopia, Brazil never wimps out… especially at the very end. Twenty-five years later, Terry Gilliam’s direction is still spot-on, the production design of the film is still mesmerizing, and the pacing feels just as urgent as today’s films. Alas, the bare-bones DVD edition I watched had no supplements to speak of; this will be one of my must-buy Blu-Ray titles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *