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Brazil - The Criterion Collection - (Single Disc Editon) (1985)

1 rating: 1.0
Science Fiction & Fantasy movie

If Franz Kafka had been an animator and film director--oh, and a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus--this is the sort of outrageously dystopian satire one could easily imagine him making. However,Brazilwas made by Terry Gilliam, who is all of the … see full wiki

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1 review about Brazil - The Criterion Collection - (Single...

Another prediction of the future proven wrong

  • Jun 22, 2007
Rating:
+1
Every century has spawned its own genre of art and literature. The 20th century saw the rise of many genres; the most notable being works about the future. Many of these have become respectable mainstays of popular culture and include the likes of The Time Machine, 1984, Blade Runner, I Robot, and this cult classic by Terry Gilliam; Brazil. Based in the early 21st century, it is a paean to the common man's fight against bureaucracy, red tape, and an intrusive government whose powers have no limits. Overall, this movie is a more tragic and more comedic version of 1984.

This movie can be viewed in two ways. If one approaches it as pure entertainment, it is a very good movie. The acting is good and the plot line is interesting and very original. The comedy is funny and unique; not quite British in style, but more of a synthesis of many forms. The action scenes and special effects look real enough, and the ending is unexpected.

If one views the movie as social commentary, as a prediction of what the future might be, then this movie fails on many accounts. First of, the primal point of this movie; the rise of an overarching and all-powerful government, is totally misplaced. If anything, government agencies in modern industrial societies are often weak and serve the whims of the private market. The US provides many great examples. The US Department of Agriculture is nothing more than a communal office for multinational food product corporations. Likewise, most national legislatures are run by corporate lobbyists.

Second, the movie portrays government as highly responsive to any threat real or imagined; one phone call and government agents are at your door in 5 minutes. Ask anyone who has filed a complaint to their city about a water main leak, or an open manhole, or a downed electricity line; and chances are they waited for hours or days, not minutes. Even the 9/11 attackers left tons of clues that were reported to authorities, but nothing ever happened. So the image portrayed by this movie of a lightning fast government that can disappear its citizens at will is utterly false. Third, the character played by Robert DeNiro is totally unreal. His character is a plumber - janitor, and leads an underground resistance to the government. Political revolutionaries have historically been either close to the power base or are academic thinkers; not blue-collar workers. Last, this movie is presumably commenting on the future of Western society. A visit to any Western city will reveal a melting pot of races, ethnicities and languages. If anything, cities are only going to become more heterogenous with time. Yet somehow everyone in this society is white; Western European white most likely.

The point is that the social commentary provided by this movie is all wrong. Overall, an entertaining movie, but not too accurate in its portrayal of the future.

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