140 minutes| U.K.-U.S.A.| 1985| Colour| Digital Video

The tale behind every Terry Gilliam movie is usually as fascinating as the finished product itself: this 1985 masterpiece was bowdlerised by the Hollywood studio that paid for it before a grassroots campaign saw Gilliam’s original cut restored to become a true cult classic. A quarter-century on, Brazil remains perhaps the purest distillation of the obsessions that drive this most singular of renegade filmmakers. It’s a bleakly hilarious riff on Orwell’s 1984 by way of Kafka, Lang and Gilliam’s Monty Python posse. This truly is a work that offers endless rewards upon repeat viewings; seen on the big screen, the densely layered art direction alone is a thing of absolute wonder. Which is not to suggest that there isn’t formidable substance elsewhere: Jonathan Pryce has never been better than as the anonymous little man raging against the machine in a decaying urban nightmare, while a truly bizarre Robert De Niro delights as a guerrilla heating engineer.

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