Somewhat evocative of George Orwell's futuristic novel "1984," "Brazil" offers an alternate vision of the past, present, and future. Set in a time and place vaguely like ours, its society is controlled by a monolithic government. Thought-police crash through the ceilings, people have long since succumbed to paranoia, and life is grim. The protagonist, Sam Lowry (Pryce), a meek, desperate, little man, works at a computer, sometimes sneakily goofing off. He and his co-workers tune their computer screens to reruns of exciting, old TV shows when the boss isn't looking. Sam sees no way to change his dull life; his only escape is into his glorious daydreams of flying above worldly cares, and of a beautiful woman he envisions. But life offers him no such possibilities.
And even the basics of urban life seem to be failing, and in an early scene, Robert De Niro has a cameo as an illegal freelance repairman, defying the State by fixing things, then escaping down long cables.
But Sam can't escape. He gets into an intrigue involving the woman he dreams of, the State's chief executive, and a group of underground dissenters. The outlines of "Brazil" are similar to those of "1984," but Orwell's lean prose was made into a lean movie, and "Brazil" seems a throwback to the psychedelic 1960s.
The movie can be hard to follow. Maybe it's supposed to be: Its air of confusion might arise from its paranoid vision. Individual moments create sharp images: Shock troops drill through a ceiling, De Niro wrestles with wires in a wall, and other scenes are set midst bizarre duct work. The best scene is one of the simplest, when Sam, moving into half an office, has to wrestle his desk from a man on the other side of a wall. As Orwell did, Gilliam does, in a different way: He reminds us that our society could become worse. We're called to prevent that.
Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, and Charles McKeown
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin
Brazil, Terry Gilliam, Orwell, 1984, futuristic films
English Reviewer's Name:
When using above purchase link, type the movie name in Search Box that will appear, and select DVD or VHS.