• Proof that even minor-Gilliam is fascinating, and also that even in his most native genre (the retro future sci-fi dystopia, Orwellian nightmare) by 2013 Gilliam no longer has his fastball.

James Verniere from the Boston Herald “To say that Gilliam has repeated himself is to say that John Ford made Westerns.” – I like that line  https://www.bostonherald.com/2014/10/10/terry-gilliams-zero-theorem-proves-to-be-fun/ 

An impressive tracking shot opening out of the cosmos on the screen pulling back to reveal the back of a naked, hairless, Christoph Waltz

  • A trademark Gilliam low-angle shot just after that—Waltz’s character at his home with massive ceilings
  • The run-down Church where he lives is a great Gilliam setting – hoarder art clutter
  • Again, we’re in Brazil and 12 Monkeys territory with the world-building—retro-future, exposed ducts—gawdy advertising here all over the screen. It is a bit of an odd choice to do so much of it during the day—it is a mistake—it is more luminous and haunting at night. The effect here is a future that looks closer to Back to the Future 2 than Blade Runner

Waltz is strong casting- he’s coming off Django (2012) and his second Oscar  here in 2013 and it is certainly no stretch to see him as hermetically sealed loner and brilliant computer wizard

  • Gilliam still has connections to talented actors- Matt Damon drops by, Peter Stormare, Tilda Swintion—the three of them on screen for a combined 8-minutes maybe. David Thewlis is given more to do. The young prodigy actor (playing a prodigy) Lucas Hedges
  • Canted angles to show distorted reality, overhead shots for surveillance—again- this is certainly auteur cinema

canted or dutch angles

Gilliam’s overhead shots here…


  • Unfortunately, a fair amount of the already brief running time 107-minutes is spent watching Waltz essentially play a video game. It is honestly a stretch at 107-minutes- it may be better at 87-minutes

There’s a Christ allegory with the statue in the home of Waltz, his questions to an absent God, trying to sacrifice for young Hedges

  • A strong ending- ends similar to Brazil– bit of ignorance is bliss with the fake sunset and Radiohead’s “Creep”
  • Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2013—closer to the fray