Zero Theorem reviews (continued)
The Economist calls the film "strangely charming". I've posted it below because of the site's article limit (read three and you have to register).

Quote:FORGET Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life". The cinematic search for mankind's true purpose reaches new heights of strangeness in "The Zero Theorem", the latest oddity from Terry Gilliam, a maverick director and former member of the Monty Python group. Focusing on a deranged data processor in a dystopian future searching for his raison d'être, it's an uneven film, but one with a ragged charm awaiting those patient enough to stomach its chaotic half-plots.

Christoph Waltz, the gifted Austrian actor who has won two Oscars for supporting roles with the help of Quentin Tarantino, takes the lead here. Qohen Leth is a genius so lonely he refers to himself as "we", and so anxious about missing the phonecall that he hopes will explain the meaning of life that he lobbies his employer for permission to work permanently from home, divorced from humanity, with only his computer, cyber-sex and a "therapist app" for company.

From the outset the film is disorienting and disordered, veering wildly between irritating opaqueness and forced exposition. “The nature of the origin of the call remains a mystery,” Qohen whispers tantalisingly one minute. Then, moments later: “We fear a great deal of things but we fear Nothing most of all.” Mr Gilliam wants to trust that his audience will understand this complicated exploration of nihilism, but he can’t quite manage it.

The film is also awash with symbolism. Qohen lives in a derelict church (people have lost their faith, got it?) where rats gnaw at frescoes. Mancom, the film's Big Brother, watches through a CCTV camera installed in a crucifix as Qohen taps maniacally at the keyboard, trying fruitlessly to complete his latest assignment. This is the Zero Theorem, which will prove that life is chaos and provide the necessary panic for Mancom to restore order and boost profits.

Whatever you think of his work, Mr Gilliam is a man of vision, and in visual terms “The Zero Theorem” is successful, in part because it is so off-putting. Qohen’s world is a dank, manic sort of future past, where technology is advanced and yet somehow antiquated, too. The computers have wooden borders, and the parties are a 1980s dream, redolent of “Bladerunner” and “Total Recall”, all heavy shoulder pads and neon advertising. Tilda Swinton pops up as Qohen’s harebrained therapist and Matt Damon has an excellent cameo as the malevolent management figure. Mélanie Thierry also arrives as a sex kitten who offers him a spot of "tantric biometric interfacing", as well as his only dose of real human kindness.

Mr Gilliam has declared the film the third in a sort-of-trilogy, following the cult hit “Brazil” (1985) and the more mainstream success “12 Monkeys” (1995). Like most dystopian fiction, all three films play upon human paranoia about a tech-heavy future, where an over-reliance on computers, an Orwellian bureaucracy and a disregard for humanity’s emotional needs, prompt sane men to turn mad and chaos to prevail.

However, if Mr Gilliam's stage reminds us of George Orwell's "1984", his tone does not. "The Zero Theorem" is not a socio-political comment but a half-joking, philosophical one that brings to mind "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Douglas Adams's novel in which a super-computer spends millions of years working out "The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything". When it finally arrives, the answer is simple, but its discovery leaves characters wondering what on earth the question was.

"The Zero Theorem" seems similarly unsure of the true nature of its quest. What is the point, it seems to ask, of asking what is the point? But it certainly takes us on an interesting—and occasionally charming—adventure trying to find out.

Messages In This Thread
Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 09-21-2013, 02:08 AM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by Packer - 09-21-2013, 09:20 AM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 09-27-2013, 04:07 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 09-30-2013, 01:27 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 10-12-2013, 04:28 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 10-15-2013, 04:16 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by Packer - 12-28-2013, 02:54 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 03-02-2014, 05:01 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 03-12-2014, 04:32 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 03-16-2014, 12:01 AM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 06-03-2014, 08:24 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 07-21-2014, 02:33 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 09-12-2014, 07:39 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by Packer - 09-18-2014, 12:23 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 10-03-2014, 04:11 PM
RE: Zero Theorem reviews (continued) - by cclark - 01-22-2015, 11:38 PM

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