DATELINE: Beyond the Twilight Zone
Whose Acting Chops?
If you thought nutcase movies are here today, you are about 30 years off. Brazil is a movie aficionado’s fantasy and nightmare, defying convention and logic. You just passed the signpost of Ipanema.
Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) went out of his way to make the Citizen Kane of kookoo-bird movies in 1985.
This was no small achievement as the film holds up as beyond modern and relevant. Its madness may yet to be realized in the future.
Like Blade Runner, the future is the past. There is an aura of 1940s film noir interspersed with superhero comic fantasy.
Jonathan Pryce is some bureaucrat by day and by night, in his dreams, some kind of flying circus performer out to save a damsel in distress. In the meantime, he works in mindless government agencies that are after Harry Tuttle (Robert DeNiro) in an early comedic performance as a heating engineer who is a wanted man for doing duct work without a license.
Pryce’s mother Ida Lowry is played by the youth-conscious Katherine Helmond in a face-stretching performance with Jim Broadbent, as her fey plastic surgeon, striving for tighter skin.
Included in the shenanigans are such familiar faces as Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, and Ian Richardson. If they wanted to kick off the unorthodoxy of their careers, this film is definitely the forerunner.
If you want a plot, you will fall into a black hole and likely be stretched to kingdom come.
You can ride the wave of this movie from one loony tune moment to the next, not bothering to connect the dots or the scenes. It’s like being in the Trump Administration: you just sit back and experience the Cinerama of movie magic to the mambo-jumbo notes of the song “Brazil.”
Heavens, or is that Land of Goshen?