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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity - but still a masterpiece
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...
Published on 19 May 2003 by Mr. C. Moore

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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film But Flawed 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...
Published on 27 Dec 2011 by SC From Purley


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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film But Flawed Blu-Ray, 27 Dec 2011
This review is from: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] (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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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity - but still a masterpiece, 19 May 2003
By 
Mr. C. Moore "chris79320" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brazil [1985] [DVD] (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Python meets Orwell, 19 Jan 2009
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brazil [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
I have to apologise for the awful cliche in the header to this review - I couldn't resist. However, as this is probably one of the best films to come out of the 20th century, I think I can let myself off.

Some reviewers have berated the film for a lack of plot, but in my opinion they have missed the point. Brazil does have a plot, but it is a very simple one - a love story - and is easily missed. That simplicity of plot allows Gilliam to weave, unhindered, a dark, richly comic yet ultimately tragic story set in a dystopia that owes as much to Thatcher's '80's as it does to Orwell's '40's and 50's. Gilliam is showing us a future that might have seemed almost inevitable at the time (1985) the film was made and one reason the film remains so watchable is that we can easily say, "there but for the grace of god go I".

Pryce's bewildered hero lives in a dark, impersonal industrialised world where "all the modern conveniences" means telephones that ring like strangled ducks, recalcitrant, brain damaged computers, services are delivered by enormous, intrusive "ducts" and maintained by nationalised and rabidly unionised workers.

The cast is an eclectic one, yet every performance adds to the film. De Niro is wonderfully cast as a guerilla heating engineer (!) and Ian Holm is masterful (as always) as Pryce's ineffectual boss. Then there is the gorgeous Kim Greist - we even get to see her in the altogether which alone justifies a five star rating! A number of other more or less well known British actors pop up in unexpected places in the film - Gordon Kaye, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Bob Hoskins ("Where'd you get this from, eh? Out yer nostril?") and Don Henderson. I also have to congratulate Gilliam for not casting bloody David Jason anywhere in this film.

Despite all this, the DVD itself is rather spartan - no subtitles and only one rather dull special feature, which in my view would have dropped a star from the rating had it not been for Ms Greist's charms.

"Just me and my little knife! Snip snip - slice slice..."
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why can't we have it all?, 22 Jun 2012
By 
A. Stimpson "Rabid Consumer" (Hullborea) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] (Blu-ray)
The good news is that the UK blu-ray release of Brazil is the 143 minute Terry Gilliam Director's Cut previously available as a Criterion release in the US (despite the listed running time of 136 minutes here on Amazon and on the case itself). The transfer is not perfect but is a massive upgrade from the DVD edition. Despite what some reviewers on here have claimed it is head and shoulders above an upscaled DVD with fine detail like skin pores and fibres on woollen suits showing up clearly. A full restoration would have been nice but you can't have everything.

What I would have expected on a blu-ray released in 2011 is a decent soundtrack but all we get here is 2.0 Dolby stereo. The American release has a DTS Master lossless soundtrack but is the shortest cut of the film so it isn't really a decent alternative. It would appear that the best release is the French digibook which not only has nice packaging but boasts the longer 142 minute cut AND a DTS MA soundtrack. That said this UK release will set you back less than half of the sheckles required to import the french disc so if you're on a budget it is still worth the splurge, warts and all. Perfectionists however should head to Amazon Fr and pick up the digibook.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dark fairytale, 12 Nov 2003
This review is from: Brazil [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
Where on earth do you start when you try describing Brazil? Terry Gilliam does a spectacular job portraying a dark fantasy world where society is taken over by a sinister bureaucracy which creates the nightmare scenario where individuals don't know who to trust or where to turn for help. What makes Brazil particularly uncomfortable and even prophetic, is that we can identify with the leading character (played by Johnathon Price) and his lonely plight into a dystopian hell. For anyone who has been enraged by being fobbed off by something like an electronic answering service in a bank, multiply Price's anguish by ten. He lives in an inhuman world which has nothing left other than red tape and faceless autocrats. Gilliam proves that you don't need any of the tactics employed by the horror genre to a create a terrifying and riveting scenario.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1984 meets Monty Python, 5 Dec 2003
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brazil [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
This film is bizarre, fantastic, flawed, and utterly delicious - all the ingredients you'd expect from the febrile imagination of Terry Gilliam. It's a cartoon come to life and gone wild; packed with the sort of detail and flights of fancy you could normally only expect to find in a novel. Watching it again after some years was a treat, partly to catch up with some of the delightful nuances Gilliam has hidden within his richly decorated but highly indigestible chocolate box world. This parallel universe in which society has been shaken into a nightmarish but strangely incompetent bureaucratic police state closely reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. How Orwell might have envisioned his alternative reality, had he been less po-faced and been in possession of a darkly chaotic sense of humour!
Beautifully judged performances abound: Jonathan Pryce's Sam Lowry (a cog in the wheel but dreams himself a winged hero) is exactly the right mix of naive everyman and common-sense superhero; Michael Palin's civilised torturer is joyful to watch; Bob Hoskins as the frustrated official heating engineer perfect, while Robert de Niro plays his rogue counterpart; and many more - a shame to pick out anyone. And Brazil? It's that infectiously catchy latin tune running through the film.
This is far from perfect, but then removing the flaws would leave a bland and anodyne movie. Accept it, warts and all. In Gilliam's own cut, this is an experience not to be missed.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a dark satire on bureaucracy gone mad, 2 Dec 2001
This review is from: Brazil (1985) [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Imagine something darker and more miserable than Bladerunner but with laughs - and you'll find yourself in Brazil. It is this very paradox which makes this film so fascinating yet disturbing at the same time. I have seen it many times and yet it still holds its magic. What makes it so engrossing for me is the extremes to which the viewer is taken - from Michael Palin's evil torturer having spasms as he "cleans up" after another victim (while wearing a mask that makes him look like child) to the laugh-out-loud scene when one of his daughters tells Pryce's cringingly embarrassed Sam Lowry "I can see your willy!" Then there are the comic - yet still disturbing - turns from Bob Hoskins as a violent and threatening "official" maintenance engineer and Katherine Helmond as Sam's plastic surgery obsessed mother. (Seeing her doctor literally "pull" her face in different directions is still hilarious) One moment you're laughing out loud, the next you're stunned into shocked silence. Brilliant. One final similie - imagine being on a rollercaster ride. Some bits are scary, some bits are thrilling, some bits are terrifying. But as soon as you come to the end you want to do it all over again. This particular rollercoaster ride is called "Brazil".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brazil - Limited Edition SteelBook [Blu-ray] [1985], 6 Mar 2014
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Brazil - Limited Edition SteelBook [Blu-ray] [1985] If Franz Kafka had been an animator and film director and a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus then this is the sort of outrageously dystopian satire one could easily imagine him making. However, Brazil was made by Terry Gilliam, who is all of the above except, of course, Franz Kafka. Be that as it may, Gilliam sure captures the paranoid-subversive spirit of Kafka's The Trial (along with his own Python animation) in this bureaucratic nightmare-comedy about a meek governmental clerk named Sam Lowry [Jonathan Pryce] whose life is destroyed by a simple bug. Not a software bug, a real bug (no doubt related to Kafka's famous Metamorphosis insect) that gets smashed 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 glitch, he himself winds up labelled as a miscreant.

Cast: Jonathan Pryce, Michael Palin, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Bob Hoskins, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Jim Broadbent, Charles McKeown, Barbara Hicks, Derrick O'Connor and Bryan Pringle

Director: Terry Gilliam

Producers: Arnon Milchan and Robert North

Writers: Frank Gill, Jr., Terry Gilliam, Laura Kerr, Charles McKeown and Tom Stoppard

Composer: Michael Kamen

Resolution: 1080p

Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo

Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Running Time: 137 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – If you have never seen Brazil, there is simply no adequate way to sum up its anarchic, iconoclastic spirit or storyline. This is an iconic film pitting Everyman [Jonathan Pryce] as hapless government worker Sam Lowry against a bureaucratic nightmare where something as simple as an errant fly can cause a domino effect that ultimately leads to Sam's imprisonment and "reeducation." Think Kafka on LSD and you have some idea of the lunatic frenzy which awaits in Brazil, a film that wants to simultaneously celebrate the dreaming, yearning spirit of Man while laughing its ass off at the pure, unadulterated idiocy of daring to dream in the first place.

That errant insect which has the misfortune to wreak all sorts of incredible havoc in Sam's life is a fitting symbol of the small vagaries of chance which seem to literally be the fly in the ointment of the well-oiled bureaucratic machine which wants us all to be folded, spindled and, yes, mutilated, and happily so, no complaining, please — next! Sam soon finds himself ensnared with a terrorist named Harry Tuttle [Robert De Niro], the man whose arrest Sam was supposed to facilitate pre-fly, and who now introduces Sam to a hidden world of which he previously had no idea existed. Sam also meets the literal girl of his dreams, Jill [Kim Greist], a scrappy lass whom Sam has been envisioning as a beckoning angel to whom he flies, Icarus-like, on fluffy white dreamer's wings. Along the way we get the typical Gilliamesque sideshow of incredible supporting characters, including an incredible Katherine Helmond as Sam's mother, her very busy plastic surgeon Dr. Jaffe [Jim Broadbent], Spoor [Bob Hoskins] an enthusiastic albeit slightly malevolent repairman, and Mr. Kurtzmann [Ian Holm], Sam's superior who is probably not so coincidentally similarly named to the anti-hero of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, as well as several others.

But the film is really a surprisingly thoughtful meditation on individualism and the corporate machinations which seem pre-programmed to chew us all up and spit us all out, differences be damned. Norman Garwood's absolutely incredible production design is perhaps the strongest supporting element in this thesis, as Sam and Jill are surrounded by a Big Brother ethos that seems just as likely to appear via kinescope as it does to utilize anything post-1950. In fact it's one of Brazil's signal achievements that it so effortlessly combines a retro look with a futuristic setting, something many a film has attempted to copy, usually not half so successfully as in this Gilliam opus.

Throughout the film Gilliam utilises the beautiful Ary Barroso standard "Aquarela do Brasil" as a panacea to escape, a dreamer's lullaby which transports Sam to lands of fantasy and happy endings. What's so singularly fascinating about the song, and ultimately the film, is how a celebratory anthem, and by comparison the film by extension, slowly takes on a dark and menacing aspect so that it ultimately becomes nightmarish. Brazil is undeniably a very funny film, but it's a humour laced with arsenic, a bitter pill for anyone who has ever raged against the machine and seen the machine win.

Blu-ray Video Quality - The movie has been framed at 1.78:1 for this 1080p transfer. It’s a stunning-looking encode with superb sharpness which offers tons of detail to the viewer and colour saturation which is rich without ever going overboard. Flesh tones are very realistic and appealing throughout. While black levels may be a shade or two lighter than optimum levels, the wonderfully dialled-in contrast makes the most of the image quality and is by far the best the movie has ever looked on home video.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - The English Dolby Digital Stereo surround track might not have the rich fidelity of more modern movie fantasies, but it plays quite well for the purposes of this movie. If the explosions lack a bit of depth and impact (and there are a fair number of them in the movie), the other sound effects and the music all come forth very well in this superb transfer.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

What is "Brazil"? [1080i 30 minutes] on this on-set documentary directed by Rob Hedden, Terry Gilliam, editor Julian Doyle, co-writer Tom Stoppard, co-writer Charles McKeown, co-producer Patrick Cassavetti, and actors Jonathan Pryce, Katherine Helmond, Kim Greist and Michael Palin, among others, discuss what Brazil is and what its messages is.

Theatrical Trailer [1080i 3 minutes] original trailer for Brazil.

Finally, Arguably Terry Gilliam's magnum opus, 'Brazil' is a bizarrely surreal, highly-imaginative black comedy set in a bleak, mechanical future. The frightful vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic hell is a visually-arresting film where fantastical dreams merge with dreary nightmares and features terrific performances by Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro and Michael Palin. The controversial, cult sci-fi classic arrives to Blu-ray with an excellent audio and video presentation and a slightly lacking wealth of supplemental material, making the overall package highly-recommended.

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No. Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film that seems as new now as it did 25 years ago, 23 Aug 2010
By 
Mark Pack (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brazil [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
It's not often that you sit down to watch a film first released a quarter of a century ago and feels like you are watching one that could have been released yesterday, but such was my experience with Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

The nightmare future it paints seems as apposite now as it did in the 1990s - being one based on suffocating bureaucracy, widespread and intrusive government surveillance and a paranoid response to terrorist attacks.

The future world is not only beautifully designed, down to numerous small details, but by picking a visual style that is '1930s modern' (sophisticated machinery but with a touch of the pre-electronic era with manual typewriter keyboards and compressed air driven communication systems), Gilliam ensured that the look would not date.

The targets of his caricatures have also stood the test of time, whether it's the idea of unhelpful telephone support lines (with the calls to Central Services to fix a plumbing problem resulting in the same sort of frustrating response that - badly - automated phone systems do today) or the stifling grip of paperwork and a bureaucracy that concentrates on ensuring all the paperwork is in order (tick-box culture, anyone?). The way bureaucrats in the film reduce a woman's fear that her wife has died to a matter of complaint forms and receipts immediately chimes and brings to mind current events such as the way in which Haringey Council responded to its failure to protect Baby P from death by talking about how good its paperwork and procedures were. The scenes of suspected terrorists being arrested, trussed up and bundled away likewise bring to mind pictures of Guantanamo Bay, orange jump suits and all. And in these post-credit crunch times the line, "If you hold out [confessing] too long it could jerpordise your credit rating" sounds all too current.

But perhaps my favourite touch are the government posters saying "Don't suspect a friend. Report him". A film-maker wishing to satirise current governments couldn't do much better.

The plot itself isn't up to much. It is pretty standard fare for this sort of dystopian future film. In its favour is the fact that the plot is 25 years old; the intervening years and films with similar plots make Brazil's plot seem more formulaic than it would have at the time. Even so, the plot is not the reason to watch the film - particular if you don't like a predictable romantic interlude set in a bleak future.

Instead, it is the visual richness and the overall picture of society it is satirising that make the film. Well worth getting and watching.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has to be seen!, 10 April 2003
By 
This review is from: Brazil [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
I can't believe that it's taken them this long to release this classic. I saw this on TV years ago and wasn't expecting much, boy was I wrong. Even now, the story is original if surreal. The humour dark and the ending defininately not the fairy tale ending that you expect from the Hollywood machine. There are so many "moments" that you could single out as defining this film, but none that would fully encapsulate the breadth of it. Watch this if you want a change from the "usual" film. If you liked 12 Monkeys, you'll love this.
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Criterion Collection: Brazil [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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