Former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam monkeys around with Chris Marker in Twelve Monkeys, a flamboyant post-apocalyptic fantasia “inspired by” Marker’s famed 1962 short La Jetée. (La Jetée screens at The Cinematheque January 7, 10, and 14.) Appearing between The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the gonzo Gilliam filmography, the movie casts Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeleine Stowe in the trippy dystopian tale of a convict from 2035 who is sent back in time to learn more about a mysterious virus, perhaps unleashed by the terrorist Army of the Twelve Monkeys, that killed most of humanity in 1996. The script is by Janet and David Peoples; the latter also penned Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning Unforgiven and co-wrote Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Like Marker’s poetic original, Gilliam’s delirious film offers its homage to Hitchcock’s dreamlike masterpiece Vertigo. “An instant cult classic ... It was an act of sheer hubris to remake Marker’s futuristic meditation on temps perdu – told almost entirely in still images – as a big-budget, mainstream picture staring Bruce Willis. That Gilliam managed to make Twelve Monkeys into a clever, complex, and poignant success is as astonishing as it is satisfying” (James Monaco, The Movie Guide). Colour, 35mm. 129 mins.
"In this, the best of Mr. Gilliam's evocative nightmares about modern life, the film maker's vision has never seemed more real."New York Times | full review