Twelve Monkeys (R)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe, Brad Pitt

Contents: Strong language, male nudity, violent scenes

Rating: 8

Summary: In 1996 a plague wipes out 99% of humanity, leaving the few remaining to shelter in underground bunkers. The outside world is cut off. In the year 2032, a group of scientists send a man back in time to help find the source of this disease, in the hope of finding a pure strain and using it to make a cure. The only clue is a mysterious group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, which seems to have claimed responsibility for the plague.

VERY good, very disturbing film. I really like director Terry Gilliam's style (you can see more of it in the movies "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" and "Brazil"") and the views of the future society clearly show his handiwork.

There is an undercurrent of futility in the film, as it subscribes to what I call the "Terminator" theory of time-travel: events are fixed, and any changes that a future visitor makes turn out to be part of what already was. Bruce Willis' character is a man pushed very close to the edge, haunted by dreams of his childhood and trying to decide which world he belongs in: the bleak, cold world of 2032 or the still-living world of 1996. He does a great job in this film, proving that his strong showing in Pulp Fiction (despite my misgivings about that film) was no fluke.

The supporting characters are great, as well: Brad Pitt goes over the top playing the half-sane son of a major businessman (who's virus research turns out to be critical to the film) and Madeline Stowe is excellent as the psychiatrist who finds Willis.

Great film.

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© 1995-2002 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Tuesday, March 09, 2004