Film: Twelve Monkeys
Creator: Terry Gilliam, David and Janet Peoples, Chris Marker
by accident really - I had recorded the film off TCM I think when it used to be available available on freeview and watched it one night in a caravan ...
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The future is history unless a madman can stop bioweapon doom.
Inspired by Chirs Marker's superior 1962 short La Jetée, this science fiction thriller was penned by David and Janet Peoples, the writers responsible for that other dark odyssey into a despondent future, Blade Runner. However, this is very much the work of Terry Gilliam, who imposes his own pseudo-poetic vision on to a world that is doomed to viral annihilation unless a seemingly insane time traveller can track down the environmental terrorists who caused the disaster.
Although it was Brad Pitt who landed an Oscar nomination, for his twitchy performance as the leader of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, it's Bruce Willis's anguished introvert who holds this hauntingly atmospheric film together.
Gilliam told his headliner, "I don't want Bruce Willis the superstar around this film, but Bruce Willis the actor", and he was rewarded with a performance of great restraint that matched the director's own.
As in Brazil, Gilliam succeeds in presenting us with strikingly imaginative imagery, while also forcing us to confront the fragility of both our planet and ourselves.
Work nominated by harryhaitch.
Text © Radio Times/BBC Worldwide