Tuesday, April 26, 2011

12 Monkeys

Directed by Terry Gilliam.
1996. Rated R, 130 minutes.
Bruce Willis
Brad Pitt
Madeline Stowe
Jon Seda

Christopher Plummer

James Cole (Willis) believes he is a time-traveler sent back from the future by his captors to investigate "the Army of the 12 Monkeys." This "army" apparently loosed a virus upon the Earth. This virus is believed to have killed 5 billion people and driven the survivors to live beneath the planet's surface. The movie opens with a quote that is actually a prediction that this whole virus thing would go down in 1997. It's attributed to a "diagnosed schizophrenic." This is key because the question of Cole's sanity is really the central theme of the movie. A brief soliloquy by a patient in the mental institution Cole is thrown into when he arrives in the year 1990 explaining his own mental condition gives us a possible explanation of what's actually going on. Of course, the alternative is that Cole is perfectly sane but indeed living in an insane reality. To his credit, director Terry Gilliam doesn't discount either possibility giving viewers something to debate. Willis gives a frantic, even fragile performance befitting the role. Stowe is solid as usual but Brad Pitt lights up the screen during the intervals in which he appears. Overall, it's an excellent, if a bit quirky, piece of science fiction.

MY SCORE: 9/10

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