Terry Gilliam returns to Brazil territory for the 21st Century
His most widely-seen films today may still be 12 Monkeys and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (and, of course, Monty Python & The Holy Grail,) but maverick director Terry Gilliam first broke big as an auteur filmmaker with 1985’s Brazil; a dystopian dark scifi/fantasy comedy about an anonymous office worker whose chance encounter with the (literal) woman of his dreams pulls him into a nightmarish adventure. Zero Theorem, his latest film, looks to revisit those same themes with a 21st Century tech-industry twist.
The film stars Christophe Waltz as an existentially-troubled, hyper-introverted computer genius living in a hellish Orwellian state. His solitary existence is upended when he accepts a new work assignment: To solve a seemingly-impossible mathematical formula called “The Zero Theorem” (possibly a version of the “Big Crunch” theory) by which 100% must be made to equal zero – thus proving definitively that existence has no meaning because everything adds up to nothing. As he digs deeper into the problem, he’s beset by strange visions, unwelcome visitors and the attentions of an enigmatic femme fatale.
The film was technically completed in 2013 and has screened at multiple international film festivals, and now due to be released in the United States on August 19.