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Brazil

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, United States
·
1985

Rated R · 2h 12m

Director Terry Gilliam
Starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm

Genre Comedy, Science Fiction

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Low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry escapes the monotony of his day-to-day life through a recurring daydream of himself as a virtuous hero saving a beautiful damsel. Investigating a case that led to the wrongful arrest of an innocent man, he meets the woman from his daydream, and in trying to help her gets caught in a web of mistaken identities, mindless bureaucracy and lies.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Mina Rhee Profile picture for Mina Rhee

A wacky and bleak film about the cruel caprices that thrive in an impersonal and supposedly objective bureaucracy. I found especially cutting the use of grand musical cues in what were supposedly ordinary moments, both for comedic effect and commenting on the way the main character's movie imagination became a means of futile escape from the blankness of his life.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

70

TV Guide Magazine by

Blindingly obtuse, excessively morose, the film is nevertheless dazzling in its inventive and massive sets and spectacular in its techniques...A powerful work that is both bleakly funny and breathtakingly assured.
100

Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

A ferociously creative 1985 black comedy filled with wild tonal contrasts, swarming details, and unfettered visual invention--every shot carries a charge of surprise and delight.
100

The New York Times by Janet Maslin

Brazil may not be the best film of the year, but it's a remarkable accomplishment for Mr. Gilliam, whose satirical and cautionary impulses work beautifully together. His film's ambitious visual style bears this out, combining grim, overpowering architecture with clever throwaway touches.
100

Film.com by John Hartl

For all its occasional long-windedness and visual dazzle, Brazil may be the "Strangelove" of the 1980s.
100

Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

This modern cult classic is a triumphantly dark comedy directed by one of the film world's truly original visionaries, Terry Gilliam. "Imagination" is this futuristic film’s middle name.
100

Time by Richard Corliss

There is not a more daft, more original or haunting vision to be seen on American movie screens this year... A terrific movie has escaped the asylum without a lobotomy. The good guys, the few directors itching to make films away from the assembly line, won one for a change. [30 Dec 1985, p.84]
50

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

Perhaps it is not supposed to be clear; perhaps the movie's air of confusion is part of its paranoid vision. There are individual moments that create sharp images (shock troops drilling through a ceiling, De Niro wrestling with the almost obscene wiring and tubing inside a wall, the movie's obsession with bizarre duct work), but there seems to be no sure hand at the controls.
40

The New Republic by Stanley Kauffmann

Brazil doesn't add up to much, not only because its cautionary tales are familiar, but because it has no real point of view, nothing urgent under its facile symbols. And the story winds on and on looking for a finish. Three or four times I reached for my coat prematurely. [17 Feb 1986, p.26]
100

San Francisco Examiner by Wesley Morris

It's a glimmering hunk of fractured brilliance riddled with Orwellian paranoia encased in a production design seemingly pieced together from the shared dreams of Franz Kakfa and Salvador Dali, and shot from cruelly low angles.

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