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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2306)

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Brazil (1985) 
"Brazil" by Yojimbo
3.5/4 stars

Terry Gilliam's bizarre and unique vision of an unspecified time in the 20th century stars Johnathon Pryce as a mid level bureaucrat haunted by dreams of a beautiful woman. When an administrative error results in the arrest and death of an innocent man, he actually meets her and takes on the fascistic establishment (in which bureaucracy has literally gone mad) to "save" her from them. This is surely the film that Terry Gilliam was born to make; it's so uniquely "his" that no-one else could possibly have made it. In fact it's so out of the box that the studio only released it under extreme duress. The production design of retro-styled technology combined with war-time era fashions and propaganda is fantastic and is a clear influence on Dark City which itself is often cited as the template for The Matrix. Many of the images seen here are hilarious and bizarre in an extremely similar way to Gilliam's own animations in the Monty Python TV series, and it visually references everything from Battleship Potemkin to The Empire Strikes Back. The criticism that it's a little self-indulgent and a case of style over substance can be leveled at it, but it's style is brilliant and it's perfectly intertwined with social satire and a lot of very funny Pythonesque humour. Add a fantastic supporting cast including Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Bob Hoskins and Robert DeNiro as a guerilla heating engineer and you have a film like no other.


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