Quick recap: Sam Lowry holds a low level government job in the not so distant dystopian future. He’s happy with things the way they are, except for the bizarre dreams he has of rescuing a beautiful woman. Once he realizes she is in fact real, he makes it his life mission to find and save her.
Fun (?) fact: Terry Gilliam, the director of Brazil, was involved in a long battle against a studio company not wanting to release his film. At one point, Gilliam took out a full page ad in Daily Variety asking when the studio was going to release his film.
My thoughts: Cool story bro: On the day I was going to watch this movie, I had somehow gotten Billy Joel’s ‘My Life’ stuck in my head .(Just kidding. I know exactly how it was done. BLACK MAGIC) After leaving the theater, the curse was lifted and now I have the theme to Brazil stuck instead. It’s not as bad as Billy Joel, because, let’s face it, nothing is. Also, there were a ton of variations to the theme so it’s almost like a new song each time.
So, besides this being one of my husband’s favorite movies (not one of several husbands. One of several movies), I love Monty Python and therefore, knew I would enjoy Brazil. The movie did not disappoint, but I admit to being a little confused by the whole thing. I hadn’t read up on the movie beforehand so I didn’t know that it is commonly characterized as a ‘dystopian satire’. It’s a totally apt description. The very beginning of the film involves an innocent man being whisked away from his family, presumably to be executed. I was a little surprised by the violence, but then one of the officers makes the wife sign away her husband, making sure she signs in the correct spots. She is then given a receipt and everyone leaves. The woman is hysterical by what has happened, yet she stops crying long enough to sign the forms correctly. Another example happens when Lowry goes out to dinner with his mother and while they are eating, a terrorist attack occurs in the restaurant. As people lay dying and bleeding to death, Lowry’s table continues eating as if nothing has happened. The waiter even brings over a partition so they won’t be bothered by the gruesome scene. I am blown away how Gilliam was able to blend the dystopian scene with satire so seamlessly.
The dystopian society itself interested me tremendously. In this ‘retro future’, everyone is materialistic, and yet they are surrounded by the shoddiest things. Lowry’s apartment, for example, is fully automated so that he doesn’t have to lift a finger in order to get ready for work. However, nothing works right: His alarm is set wrong, he has to plug in several wires just to answer the phone, and his breakfast is ruined when the machine pours the coffee all over the toast. Also, as a major plot point, there are these pipes that are everywhere. When his heating system breaks down, Lowry phones the Central Services line to get someone to fix it. Instead, a man intercepts the call and does the work much more efficiently. It is at this point that Lowry’s eyes are open. Another characteristic of this society is that paperwork rules all. Hardly anything gets done because of the vast amount of paperwork involved. Innocent people are routinely killed because the government believes the paperwork is infallible.
I realize I haven’t really touched on the plot of this movie very much, and there is a reason for that. I feel like this movie will be best be enjoyed if you have no idea what you are getting into. Everything was a surprise and I had no idea how it would all end. The ending, in fact, is one of the main controversies with Terry Gilliam and the movie studio. I feel like the less said, the better about this one.
Final review: 1/5 and 5/5. Much like Moulin Rouge, I imagine Brazil to be polarizing. Many people will dismiss it as too weird, but I respectfully disagree. I would love to watch it again to see what else I pick up on, humor-wise.
Up next: Cleo from 5 to 7