Twelve Monkeys [DVD] 
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Former 'Monty Python' animator Terry Gilliam directs this gritty sci-fi thriller. In the year 2035 the world has been decimated by a virus which originated back in 1996. Convict James Cole (Bruce Willis) is selected to travel back in time to trace the virus to its source. The first attempt at time travel lands Cole back in 1990, where he is diagnosed as a schizophrenic and committed to a mental institution. Can he escape and get to the right year to prevent the virus' outbreak?
Inspired by Chris Marker's acclaimed short film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys combines intricate, intelligent storytelling with the uniquely imaginative vision of director Terry Gilliam. The story opens in the wintry wasteland of the year 2035, where a virulent plague has forced humans to live in a squalid, oppressively regimented underground. Bruce Willis plays a societal outcast who is given the opportunity to erase his criminal record by "volunteering" to time-travel into the past to obtain a pure sample of the deadly virus that will help future scientists to develop a cure. But in bouncing from 1918 to the early and mid-1990s, he undergoes an ordeal that forces him to question his own perceptions of reality. Caught between the dangers of the past and the devastation of the future, he encounters a psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe) who is initially convinced he's insane, and a wacky mental patient (Brad Pitt in a twitchy Oscar-nominated role) with links to a radical group that may have unleashed the deadly virus. Equal parts mystery, tragedy, psychological thriller, and apocalyptic drama, 12 Monkeys ranks as one of the best science fiction films of the 1990s, boosted by Gilliam's visual ingenuity and one of the finest performances of Willis's career. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Maybe this is even better than other and more independent film from Gilliam, because it finds the right balance between intriguing entertainment, glamour and his personal and mysterious touch and point of view.
It is a kind of enigmatic spiral where the story generates itself through a time paradox and it is also a homage to "the woman who lived twice" (and the man, too, in this case). But it's above all a story of tragic solitude whose drama finds its perfect representation in the very idea of the time paradox and eternal returns of events, actions, situations, like there is no space for redemption. Visually stunning in a great blu ray
I'm not saying the film is perfect, but it's very close to it. The story is properly compelling, it's well told, well paced, well acted etc. It's also visually one of the most interesting looking films I've ever seen. There is often a surreal quality to the images with extensive use of Dutch angles (camera slanted to put most things in the frame on a diagonal slope). I wouldn't call it a pretty film, just that it's visually inventive and constantly attention grabbing in a pleasing way.
I think the director himself once said that the acting of Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt has a tendency to split audiences. Most people think one gives a great performance and the other one a weak, overly mannered one. I've previously thought Brad Pitt's acting was a bit fake and unconvincing. Over time I've grown to think he's good, not outstanding or anything, but appropriate for a mentally unstable person.
The child actor during the airport scene is a minor weak link as he seems to be over-emoting like crazy with his eyes. He's not bad or annoying, he's just not note perfect.
Logically the film is not one hundred percent watertight, though I doubt many, if any, time travel films ever are. There might be some holes, but the film is too good to be affected by them. Why don't they go further back in time and correct their own mistakes (the airport scene at the end throws up a few questions along this line)?Read more ›
Video: 1080p high definition widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English DTS-HS Master audio 5.1: frencha canadian, italian, spanish, latin american spanish dts surround 5.1
Subtitles: english SDH, french acanadian, italian, spanish, latin american spanish, korean, swedish, danish, finnish, dutch, norwegian, portuguese, greek, traditional madarin
very good film with a good trasnfer, but the extras are all low definition, even thou they are interesting
The plot is intelligent, the acting is superb and it looks beatifully gritty.
I never get tired of watching this film, it's a classic that constantly rewards the viewer with each subsequent viewing.
The two main actors - Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis - are so unbelievably good that you can feel both James Cole's anguish and Geoffrey Goines' agitation oozing from the screen. Madeleine Stowe's attempts to rival her male colleagues fall a bit flat - she seems a bit like a jumpy Alanis Morisette in the "Ironic" video rather than the character she is supposed to be playing (it would have been better had Railly remained calmer and more composed as a foil to Cole and Goines' supposed lunacy) but gives a decent performance.
The exquisite location filming and atmospheric use of dirt and decay made me think I was in some Orwell novel - don't watch this without taking a long hot shower afterwards - but the tension between Cole's mission and longing for the "good ol' days" is poorly developed, as is the romance between Cole and Railly - perhaps there isn't supposed to be one, but the on-screen hints were sending confusing mixed messages out, and the film would not have suffered had there been less ambiguity, particularly in the final scenes.
There is an 87 minute "Hamster Factor" documentary also on the DVD but I was so exhausted by the film that to sit through almost as much again immediately afterwards was too much. More information on the cast would have been nice as well, but at the end of the day a good movie should speak for itself - and this one does so at a high volume.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Terry Gilliam’s magnum opus Twelve Monkeys (1995) is the perfect film.
2027, Philadelphia, and the human race is all but extinct due to a deadly virus in 1996. Read more