There is no denying that Terry Gilliam is a master in cult cinema. He has carved many dystopian futures full of complexities and intellectual visionary philosophies. Movies such as Brazil and Twelve Monkeys have this distinctive look; colourful in a world of rot and decay. Technological advancements while history crumbles away, these worlds are rich in a sole character trying to fight back against this weird norm that everyone has accepted. Gillioram-esque has become a cinema term because we are so accustomed to his creations. The Zero Theorem is the latest movie to add to the Gilliam roster.
There is no denying that this film is a Gilliam classic. Drenching a dystopian London where technology has prevailed over preservation, this hammers in the function and ultimate disfunction computers have caused. The culture is entirely satirical from parties spent with people glued to touch screen and churches dedicated to famous idols. Gilliam has picked at our need for mindless technology and created a cinematic masterpiece that is beautiful and tragic all at the same time. Capturing his previous efforts as well, there is no denying that Gilliam has given a sublime feast for the eyes and allowed us to enter his visions wholly.
There is no issue with the performances, Waltz is every bit as brilliant as loner Leth who is pestered, Damon is a mysterious Management figure and Melanie Thierry is bubbly as Bainsley. But they are hampered by the hundreds of different elements that are loosely stringed together and simply crash into each other with no connection. While The Zero Theorem is a stunning piece to look at and has some fantastic humour too, it just doesn’t feel entirely complete and misses too many elements.
It may take a few more viewings for it to click, but ultimately this is a disappointing feature from a legendary filmmaker.