Screenplay : David Peoples and Janet Peoples
MPAA Rating : R
Year of Release : 1995
Stars : Bruce Willis (James Cole), Madeleine Stowe (Dr. Kathryn Railly), Brad Pitt (Jeffrey Goines), Christopher Plummer (Dr. Goines)
Like all his other films, Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys" is a little bit out there, if you know what I mean. It suggests that a killer virus strikes the world in late 1996, and all the people who survive are forced to move underground Every plot line gets twisted around at some point and reality is, more often than not, a matter of interpretation. The whole scope of "12 Moneys" is completely insane, often confusing, sometimes almost unintelligible; but somehow at the end it all comes together and everything makes sense if you look at it closely enough. Word of advice: pay attention to everything.
Bruce Willis plays a convict in the year 2030 who is chosen to go back in time, not to stop the virus, but merely to discover its cause so the people of the future can understand it. Madeline Stowe plays the psychiatrist who is assigned to him, and Brad Pitt is cast as a psychotic who Willis meets in an insane asylum. Pitt's acting is some of the best of his career, equal with his best performance to date in the vastly underrated and underseen film "Kalifornia."
This is not new ground for Gilliam to cover. He's explored fantasy and time travel in several of his previous films, including "Time Bandits," "Brazil," and "The Fisher King." Gilliam was the only American member of the British comedy group Monty Python, and his association with that group often shines through in some of the film's black humor.
Everything about the production is top notch, especially the set designs and the camera work. "12 Monkeys," however, is only for certain tastes as some people may be slightly put off by its exaggerated tone and confusing plot lines while others will consider it an exhilarating ride.
©1997 James Kendrick