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12 Monkeys (1995)

Director:
Terry Gilliam

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Sci-Fi/Thriller/Mystery

NORWEGIAN TITLE
12 Monkeys

RUNNING TIME
124 minutes

Producer:
Charles Roven
Screenwriters:
David Peoples
Janet Peoples


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
James Cole Bruce Willis
Kathryn Railly Madeleine Stowe
Jeffrey Goines Brad Pitt
Dr. Goines Christopher Plummer
Jose Jon Seda -
Lt. Halperin Christopher Meloni
Scarface Michael Chance -
Dr. Casey Rick Warner -
Dr. Peters David Morse

 

Review

Terry Gilliam's ambitious time mystery 12 Monkeys has an at times engaging story and a purposeful but somewhat muddled social criticism. It's a fundamentally intelligent and imaginative film as usual with Gilliam's works and it has a handful of interesting characters, not least the lead James Cole, played by Bruce Willis. He's got an intriguing well-kept mystique which Willis does well to convey. And Willis also harbours a sensitivity and frustration which is rather unusual for him. Brad Pitt's Academy Award nominated performance is less impressive. His intense gaze and wild acrobatics come off as too put-on and self-conscious. He looks good, but his character is best left unexplored. And Gilliam isn't quite able to amalgamate his ambitious thematics and loose ends, which he ultimately gets a little too busy doing. Perhaps he should have left more of his film open for interpretation; no conclusion is sometimes better than a unsatisfactory one. The film's best asset is the relation between Cole and Kathryn, played by Madeleine Stowe, which includes some interesting observations. On the whole, however, the film is too flawed, despite Gilliam's obvious visionary and aesthetic ability. And as with most films about time-travel, it's not as clever as it purports to be.

Copyright 21.01.1998 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
(English version: 12.04.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang)