Twelve Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys ★★★★½

Film #61 of Project 90

”Wiping out the human race? That's a great idea.”

Geometry has thought us that a loop doesn't have a start or finish point so you’ll never know whether point A is actually ahead of point B or not, it is an endless line that just goes on and on. And what if time was a loop? What would have happened to our memories? How would we define concepts like past, present and future when our future was virtually our past and our past was our future? Then what would be the definition of eternity? And most importantly what would be the role of human consciousness in all these? Will we be aware of this endless loop? A big and unsolvable paradox lies in the middle of all those questions which is the result of the above mentioned geometrical principle, you can’t find the starting point of a loop. It’s a chicken and egg situation.

Terry Gilliam’s astounding sci-fi takes those unfathomable questions and approaches them from an emotional point of view: what will happen to our memories and how our mind will react to the repetitive events? Twelve Monkeys portrays a pretty nightmarish situation, people who are doomed to live a particular life over and over without knowing that they have lived it before. Gilliam portrays a hell where no one can remember the past/future due to the endless nature of the time loop that has trapped them inside itself, forget about the deadly viruses, not being able to recall your emotions is way more deadlier than a couple of viruses.

Like Brazil, Gilliam is not optimistic about technology here, in fact he portrays a pretty dark picture of mankind’s technological advancements and perhaps that loop has a starting point for Gilliam and that’s mankind’s arrogance and egotism that comes with the scientific discoveries. And by using some wonderful visuals he transforms that pessimism and fear to the screen, just look at the future world and its frighteningly mechanical nature, the cinematography and the unnerving main musical theme of the film add to that sense of anxiety and insecurity that is an important part of the film and its universe.

Twelve Monkeys is among the best films of the sci-fi genre, Gilliam has the confidence to tackle a pretty difficult issue, he gives you a pessimistic portrayal of future and he uses the sci-fi medium to speak about the most basic feelings of mankind – love, regret, fear and hope – in the most impressive way. A truly great film with extremely amazing visuals and tremendously thought-provoking themes.

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