Film #119: ZERO THEOREM
2.75 out of 5 stars
The great Terry Gilliam directs this “what is it to be human” film starring Christoph Waltz (DJANGO UNCHAINED). Per usual in a Gilliam film, the art direction is sumptuous and costumes are interesting (in this case, they’re an extension of 40s-era fashion mixed with a BLADE RUNNER sensibility. Waltz carries the film as Qohen Leth, a nerdy “programmer” who refers to himself in the third person is spiraling into loneliness and neurosis. The plot is kind of sketchy other than Management (played to great effect my Matt Damon) continually involving itself in Leth’s life (presumably because he alone might solve The Zero Theorem – don’t ask). Melanie Thierry is great as the love interest and David Thewlis does his best David Thewlis. Here’s the thing though… ZERO THEOREM, while a SOLID science fiction film, still ends up feeling contrived. It’s as if the filmmaker had already done a film like it AND he did it better the first time. In this case, he – Terry Gilliam –has… and it’s called BRAZIL. While THEOREM is a more optimistic film than BRAZIL, it’s just too eerily familiar to it. That is not to say, by any means, that THEOREM is not a good film. It most definitely is. It’s just that it’s so much like BRAZIL that its noticeable. But for all of that, Gilliam makes some great commentary on modern society here with video screens everywhere and pedestrians walking with their heads buried in their devices. His eye, as usual, is well-placed. All in all, THEOERM is well worth seeing and is a fine – albeit lesser – addition to the filmmaker’s filmography.