A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.
All that being said, Brazil is my very favorite movie. Those things previously described as reasons that some people will dislike the movie are the very reasons I love it. The story is both simple and complex depending on how you look at it, and this kind of paradox is what makes for great art. There, I did it! I used the 'A' word, and not lightly. Brazil is an art film, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Sam Lowry(Jonathan Pryce) is our hero, an unambitious bureaucrat within the ranks of the Ministry of Information. The only place he is willing to be more than a drone is in his dreams where he is some sort of angelic knight fighting to save his dream girl. While running an errand for work, Sam comes face to face with a woman who is the very image of the dream girl, and his life is forever changed when he surrenders his tranquil unambitious life in the attempt to pursue the woman.
This movie is less about the story than it is about the atmosphere in my opinion. Terry Gilliam is a visual genius, and this movie marks his peak(so far) in producing a visually stunning film, with due apologies to Adventures of Baron Munchausen and 12 Monkeys which are beautiful in their own rights. The oppression of the bureaucratic life is felt by anyone who watches this film, and the freedom experienced in the dreams is a fantastic counterpoint. This film does a wonderful job of evoking emotional responses for me, and I suspect for most of the fans of the film as well.
The film can be viewed at many different levels of complexity, from fairly simple to fully allegorical. The simple view would be that the movie is about the dreams we create to escape our dull lives, and the potentially disastrous results of pursuing them in waking life. Symbolically the film can be interpreted as a vicious attack on the status quo as an impersonal, consumer/beauty oriented beast that is upheld by a draconian adherence to regulations and invasive public policy. There are many other ways to see it, most of which are probably unintended, but certainly completely valid.
The best part about Brazil is that it is absolutely hilarious. Jonathan Pryce shows remarkable aptitude for physical comedy. The dialogue is as funny as any movie you'll ever see, though the humor is very dry, and often so subtle that you might not get a joke until a minute after it has passed. There are the occasional tidbits of out loud guffaws one would expect from a script that was partly written by Tom Stoppard, but there is not a constant barrage of this material.
Brazil is a very cerebral film, so if you are thinking, "What does cerebral mean?" you can probably skip it. Anyone who expects to have a story clearly spelled out for them, and done so in a concise manner with little background interference will hate Brazil. Brazil is a film for those who want texture, emotional involvement and some sort of deeper meaning.
Brazil is my favorite movie, but it is clearly not for everyone!
- Oct 18, 2002