An intense film about time travel, this Sci-Fi entry was directed by Terry Gilliam, a member of the comedy troupe Monty Python. The film stars Bruce Willis as James Cole, a prisoner of the state in the year 2035 who can earn parole if he agrees to travel back in time and thwart a devastating plague. The virus has wiped out most of the Earth's population and the remainder live underground because the air is poisonous. Returning to the year 1990, six years before the start of the plague, Cole is soon imprisoned in a psychiatric facility because his warnings sound like mad ravings. There he meets a scientist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the mad son of an eminent virologist (Christopher Plummer). Cole is returned by the authorities to the year 2035, and finally ends up at his intended destination in 1996. He kidnaps Dr. Railly in order to enlist her help in his quest. Cole discovers graffiti by an apparent animal rights group called the Army ...
The "TV Ball" prop was notoriously problematic, with either the electronics or hydraulics breaking almost every time it was used. See more »
When in the car in 1996 and Cole asks for more music, the switching from station to station is the sound of an analog radio dial (fade out of one station, fade in to the next), whereas the radio being used is a digital direct-tune type. This is likely intentional on the part of the filmmakers as Terry Gilliam frequently places "retro" technology alongside or inside the modern. See more »
Jose - psst! Jose, what's going on?
Bad news, man
Yeah. And they said your name.
Hey, maybe they'll give you a pardon, man.
Yeah, that's why none of the volunteers come back. They all get a pardon.
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The symbol of the 12 Monkeys provides the backdrop for the opening and closing credits. See more »
The Earth Died Screaming
Written and Performed by Tom Waits
Courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing See more »
Twelve Monkeys — Ready for a slow crude take on a fatal pandemic?
Twelve Monkeys is the kind of movie that gets much better with time. With each subsequent viewing, you start appreciating something new, understanding the story a little bit more, and linking new plots elements. I'm saying this because the settings and scenes are rather crude and unpleasant to assimilate, even though the final product is incredible.
The good. Tight logical story. Engrossing scenario that gets better with time. Excellent acting. Interesting treatment of a fairly common theme. Great details. Nice conception of the future.
The actors. Bruce Willis plays the dislocated and slightly unhinged hero to perfection. Great acting. Madeleine Stowe is just right as the unwilling but open-minded participant. Brad Pitt's mad interpretation is pure genius and an obvious precursor of his role in Fight Club (review still to come).
The bad. The whole flick will not please everybody for its gruesome take, the slow development, and the logical conclusion, which I must admit is as it should be. It is morally disappointing and a slightly simple considering the circumvolutions of the story itself.
The ugly. Nothing ugly there, but the rawness of it all.
The result. Watch it. Let a year go by. Watch it again.
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