Brazil [1985] – A Retro Masterpiece You Should Not Miss

Brazil movie review

On the surface, Brazil is just another one of those movies in which a person is trying to save other(s) from problems but things go wrong while doing so. But it is only when you look at it with a more observant eye that things start to get interesting. Really interesting.

Brazil is about technology; about how dependent the people of the future will be on computers. Set in a retro-future world, the movie doesn’t focus, like almost all others, on heroes and villains, and on achievements. Rather, it follows the life of a everyday Joe, a loser, dare I say, who enjoys his dead-end job and doesn’t care what other people might think of him, until he becomes obsessed with trying to rectify a mistake made by a computer.

Such a cynical view of humans will appeal to some greatly, but it’s totally understandable how it will put others to sleep.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the movie is the biting satire on bureaucracy. Representing a bizarre, bleak world that sets itself apart from the realistic settings, with a script that is filled with dark humor, sharp satire and wit, the screenplay is engaging and excellently represents the disturbed and ‘machine-like’ lives of humans.

The world is full of subtle details and imagery that one can easily miss in the first viewing. Oh and did I mention, there are angels in it? Yep there are. And the way director Terry Gilliam reconciles the bureaucratic world with the dream sequences is masterful. It makes the viewers think of where they stand, or will stand, in the bureaucratic future. The movie is so utterly imaginative and creative, so confident and assured in its direction that it might make some viewers deem it as disturbing and depressing. The pace of the movie, it’s editing and messiness is nothing short of perfection.

The script was so inviting and engaging that it made De Niro come along for a ride, although it was pretty brief. Other actors did a tremendous job at portraying their respective roles.

Brazil is the kind of movie that comes along infrequently. The one you can expect to appear after years or even decades. There are movies that one enjoys and forgets, and then there are movies that one enjoys, or doesn’t enjoy for that matter, but they stick in the head for a long time.

Brazil belongs to the later category.

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