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Brazil [1985] [DVD]

132 customer reviews

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Brazil [1985] [DVD] + Twelve Monkeys [DVD] [1996] + Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1982]
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Product details

  • Actors: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm
  • Directors: Terry Gilliam
  • Writers: Charles McKeown, Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard
  • Producers: Arnon Milchan, Patrick Cassavetti
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 19 May 2003
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008WQ62
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,605 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

In the future, a clerk at the all-powerful Ministry of Information sticks to his ideals and ends up crushed by the system in this half comedy, half horror story from former 'Monty Python' animator Terry Gilliam. Like Orwell's novel '1984', which it echoes, the future is seen from a 1940's perspective. Jonathan Pryce stars, with Robert De Niro making a cameo appearance as an excessively diligent sewage inspector.

From Amazon.co.uk

If Franz Kafka had been an animator and film director--oh, and a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus--Brazil is the sort of outrageously dystopian satire one could easily imagine him making. In fact it was made by Terry Gilliam, who is all of the above except, of course, Franz Kafka. Be that as it may, Gilliam captures the paranoid-subversive spirit of Kafka's The Trial (along with his own Python animation) in this bureaucratic nightmare-comedy about a meek government clerk named Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) whose life is destroyed by a simple bug. It's not a software bug but a real bug (no doubt related to Kafka's famous Metamorphosis insect) that gets squashed in a printer and causes a typographical error unjustly identifying an innocent citizen, one Mr Buttle, as suspected terrorist Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro). When Sam becomes enmeshed in unravelling this bureaucratic tangle, he himself winds up labelled as a miscreant. The movie presents such an unrelentingly imaginative and savage vision of 20th-century bureaucracy that it almost became a victim of small-minded studio management itself--until Gilliam surreptitiously screened his cut for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, who named it the best movie of 1985 and virtually embarrassed Universal into releasing it. --Jim Emerson

On the DVD: Brazil comes to DVD in a welcome anamorphic print of the full director's cut--here running some 136 minutes. Disappointingly the only extra feature is the 30-minute making-of documentary "What Is Brazil?", which consists of on-set and behind-the-scenes interviews. There's nothing about the film's controversial release history (covered so comprehensively on the North American Criterion Collection release), nor is Gilliam's illuminating, irreverent directorial commentary anywhere to be found. The only other extra here is the ubiquitous theatrical trailer. A welcome release of a real classic, then, but something of a missed opportunity. --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By SC From Purley on 27 Dec. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Weird but excellent film, been one of my favourites for years and was looking forward to the blu-ray release.

However, what is the point of blu-rays when compared to DVDs? Ah, yes, superior visuals and sound quality, or at least supposedly.

Visually, the transfer is pretty good for a 25+ year old film (though no great improvement over an upscaled DVD).

Audio is another matter. This is standard 2.0 Dolby Digital and compares to the USA multi-region release that is DTS-HD Master and which sounds much better than the UK version (yes, I know it's sad, but I did buy the US version after my disappointment with the UK version).

So, Fox, why is it that you think the UK should put up with inferior sound quality compared to the US edition? Was it really impossible to use the same master? And again, what is the point in blu-ray if the production companies bundle the disc with a sound format that is no better than DVD (actually, worse, my old Criterion edition at least has 2.1 Dolby Digital - well, I did say it was one of my favourite films...).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 19 Oct. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Brazil is a funny, scary and creative film which takes a whimsical look at the world of George Orwell's 1984. I don't think it's quite the groundbreaking masterpiece some people claim - its plot can be messy and characters unfocused - but as a dystopian satire Brazil works very well.
Jonathan Pryce plays Sam Lowry, a Ministry of Information employee. His job is soul-crushing, and he relieves the tedium with daydreams about himslf as a winged hero who saves a beautiful woman from a masked monster. These fantasies are the film's most fascinating element; they incorporate details from Sam's everyday life and create wonderful images, like a brickwork creature with the face of Sam's boss. When he sees a rebel (Kim Griest) who's the spit of the woman from his dreams he's inspired to find her and take on their repressive government.
Brazil is a satire of beauracracy. Everything in director Terry Gilliam's world, even human life, is controlled by machines and paperwork. Early on we see an innocent working-class family torn apart when their father is accused of terrorism. This turns out to be an error though it's not spotted soon enough to reverse the damage, and the government cares more about assigning blame anyway. Gilliam presents this dystopia beautifully. I loved all the weird machines which are meant to help but only hinder, like a breakfast maker that isn't as useful as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's.
Brazil's major flaw is its scattershot narrative. The plot doesn't flow so much as lurch from one point to another, leaving behind characters who seem like they should be around more. Robert De Niro and Kim Griest, for instance, are underused. I'd have liked to know more about Griest's rebel, who has few lines which don't simply push the plot forward.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Moore on 19 May 2003
Format: DVD
It's hard to be objective about a film i know and love as much as Brazil, but here goes. Firstly the bad news, no director's commentary, Gilliam always provides illuminating and witty commentaries so it's a glaring omission. Secondly, 'What is Brazil?' is an only mildly interesting extra, not adding much to our understanding of the film. Hence, a missed opportunity.
Now the good news. If you like surrealist cinema, pitch black humour and bizarre imagery (think Lynch here), then this could well turn out to be one of your favourite films too. A sort of Gilliam vision of nineteen eighty four, the film depicts a futuristic society in which bureaucracy subjugates free will and peoples' lives become computer printouts. Love, as in 1984 is the enemy of the state, and Sam is the civil servant who commits the heinous crime of falling in love with a suspected terrorist. I won't spoil the ending, but it is both uplifting and devastating.
If you prefer straightforward story telling and narrative closure then you might prefer to avoid this film. Subjectively I would say this is one of only a few films that has left an enduring impression upon me.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cheeky Monkey on 20 Oct. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Due to a curious lack of professional reviews and details about this blu-ray, I have decided to provide information I would have found helpful prior to buying this release. Firstly, this surely has to be the same transfer used for the Region A Criterion version. The film runs at 2hrs 23min 20sec, with the 20th Century Fox logo taking up 23sec of that. This version of the film also opens in the clouds, which has been accredited to the Criterion version. The other thing that makes me suspect it is the same transfer is the superb picture quality.

PQ: There is a healthy layer of grain that was only noticeable when viewed up close. The image was sharp, stable, colours were vibrant and natural, with no discernible print damage. Neither did I notice any scratches, dirt or debris (except on a couple of process shots.) In a nutshell, the film has never looked better to me.

AQ: I can't comment on the surround sound, but the audio through my stereo TV speakers was well-balanced and crisp, with dialogue sounding clearer than any previous version I've watched.

Extras: The minimal extras have been ported over from the previous DVD release. They comprise a 3-minute theatrical trailer, and the 30-minute vintage documentary "What is Brazil?".

So, if you can't play Region A discs then this is a far from disappointing alternative, and a fraction of the price of the Criterion disc. Dystopia has never been funnier.
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