(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 48
5 out of 5 🐙
So I’m in love with myself so I’m gonna inflict my ‘Last Jedi’ Kung Fu review style on Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece ‘Brazil.’ I’m gonna list my likes and dislikes. But unlike Last Jedi, I have a mountain of likes and only a few mild dislikes. I guess that’s why one movie is a classic and the other is a controversy.
I can’t believe it took me so long to see Brazil. I literally avoided this movie because of its cover art. I thought it was going to be a ponderous science fiction examination of the inevitable downfall of modern society. I literally judged a film by its cover.
It was not at all what I expected and it was far better than I could have hoped!
Again: this movie was released eons ago but maybe there’s some of you out there like me who haven’t seen it and wanna go in fresh. So, there are a shit-ton of spoilers to follow.
I’m gonna knock out the very mild dislikes first cause there are so few and then get to the good stuff.
Ran a little too long. But this is a stretch because I can’t really say I was bored or waiting for it to end.
The fake-out ending.
The weird creepy baby mask hobgoblin things.
What are the midlands doing in Brazil?
I think the movie would have been even more perfect if it ended right after the necrophilia line.
(That’s it. And I actually have 3 of those 4 also in my likes section. I’m such a hardass.)
Likes and Loves
Quotes and Moments
(get ready for the love fest)
(this movie wrote the book of love)
(no ‘love me nots’ here)
(…is like a nice MLT…)
(OK, I’ll get on with it. Impatient f*ckers.)
The fake-out ending. Who does that? It threw me for a loop! I was pissed at first but like Ali G says “Respect.”
The weird creepy baby mask hobgoblin things. They WERE going for creepy and they nailed it.
The midlands! Reminded me of the UK obviously and that always makes me smile. And I love it when there are countryside scenes that are clearly not the country they are supposed to be (see James Bond on the PCH).
In the beginning, when Mr. Buttle is inaccurately abducted by the ministry agents, it looks like the agents who stormed that house in Miami to forcibly take Elian Gonzalez watched this movie and modeled their guns, outfits and jackbooted thug techniques directly after these dudes!
The deputy minister saying they were winning the war against terrorism despite THIRTEEN YEARS OF ONGOING BOMBINGS reeked of the 30 years of multiple American administrations insisting they were winning in Vietnam.
Funny propaganda poster: “Suspicion breeds confidence “
Not the first flick to make fun of bureaucracy but I don’t think there are many who have done it better.
Funny propaganda poster: “Help the ministry help you!”
After a terrorist goes off at a fancy restaurant, the string quartet stops playing their current song and switched to Hava Nagila, which literally means Let Us Rejoice. I like the irony. So sue me.
Robert DeNiro plays a conspiracy theory-ish rebel electrician!
Middle manager Kurtzman is so lazy (or so clever) that he gets his subordinates to sign the forms he is to approve with his own signature.
Is the flying angel guy a David Bowie allusion? I don’t know but I like to wonder about it.
I don’t know why he’s there but I LOVED the crazy samurai.
In general, this movie is f*cking hilarious all the f*cking time.
When he pulled the samurai mask off he saw his OWN face! Was that Terry showing love for the Dagobah scene when Luke tore the Vader vision’s mask off and saw his own face? Gotta be, right?
They had a person of short stature in the cast and he was just a normal character and not used as a joke.
Nice comeback: “It’s alright- I don’t like you either”
Funny propaganda poster: “Don’t suspect a friend. Report him.”
His love interest reminded me of Charlize Theron’s ‘Furiosa’ in Fury Road. Both women lived in a dystopia. Both were badasses. Both were female co-leads. Both were physically strong and rough. Both didn’t need a man to save them. Kim Greist’s character was even the aggressor romantically (but Gilliam still did have the male lead kinda save Jill which was kind of a bummer). I don’t know if George Miller loved Brazil but it really feels like Jill Layton is Furiosa’s spiritual forerunner.
Funny protest sign: “Consumers for Christ“. Isn’t this a lot like “Jews for Jesus”?
Santa: What do you want for Xmas?
Girl: My own credit card.
It carries on the grand tradition of absurd nonsensical Monty Python humor.
Funny line: “…requisition for unnecessary repairs “.
So there’s this scene where DeNiro’s character rigs the plumbing to funnel back into these two jerks from central services and their suits fill up with crap until they completely explode. Sam, the lead, exclaims: “Shit!”
DeNiro: “We’re all in it together.”
The deputy minister seems to be a forerunner, aesthetically and thematically and spin-ly, of the dickhead minister in V for Vendetta.
Blowing up the ministry also felt like the explosion that was meant to be but never was on the 5th of November.
Sam: “You don’t exist anymore I’ve killed you – Jill Layton is dead.”
Jill: “Care for a little necrophilia?”
It’s not really a terrible thing that the movie did not end at this point because the denouement was pretty great.
Great line: “She appears to have been killed resisting arrest. The odd thing is it appeared to have happened twice.”
It reminds me of that fantastic Catch 22 scene on the beach with Yossarian and a clerk looking up at a plane. I don’t remember the exact scene but the gist is that the official’s ledger is more accurate than the live physical proof of life right in front of him.
Was this movie influenced by Catch-22? Was Monty Python influenced by it? All three have the same kind of nonsensical amazing humor.
I feel like this is a great ancestor to the Matrix. Stick with me for a second. Both are dystopian worlds. Both treat humans like inanimate objects and not real people. Both have a dorky nerd fighting against the evil powers that be. Both have a small but persistent group of rebels determined to save the world. Both admirably echo the timeless message of Orwell’s ‘1984.’
In a very poetic death, especially for a very smart ass movie, DeNiro’s character appears to be disintegrated by paper. And paper is a constant form of evil that strides across the entire film.
Sam’s mom keeps getting younger and younger with her many insane plastic surgery forays (like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) while her female friend keeps getting more and more physically damaged with each of her plastic surgery forays (until she’s a gelatinous pile in a pink coffin). Was Gilliam’s decision to create a Benjamin Button like character in Brazil a (yes, I’m really, really stretching here) bizarre foreshadowing of his penchant to cast Brad Pitt in multiple films, and obviously, in the Benjamin Button flick? I really hope it was.
There’s an awesome happy ending! (well, for a few minutes) in which Jill is amazingly alive and SHE saves the guy!
Happy ending fake out!! The whole happy ending was a weird delusion experienced by Sam whose now in some kind of Total Recall zapped mental state. This is also the state that Chief Bromden mercifully rescued R. P. McMurphy from in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
And, finally, what is Ian Holm’s secret? Dude looks like he hasn’t aged in 30 years. Where’s his Gwyneth Paltrow lifestyle site? I would register!
I could go on and on till the break of dawn with praise for this movie. Just go see it. Even if you already have.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)