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12 Monkeys - Film Review

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by Andrew Burton (subscribe)
I am a Freelance Writer-Photographer and Novelist. I travel to find inspiration, wherever the distant horizons lead.
Published May 28th 2015
Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis go head to head in the lunacy stakes
12 Monkeys is a classic sci-fi thriller.
A thrilling world of lunacy, 12 Monkeys.
Maybe it is a little cynical, but following up a classic film or even a TV series is fraught with insurmountable challenges. The 12 Monkeys sci-fi film made in 1995, is now being followed by a series of the same name and theme. Maybe it will satisfy the masses, but the original film is special and unique in many ways.

Set in 2035, a criminally insane James Cole (played by Bruce Willis), has his services volunteered by a ruling caste of scientists, who appear as a mix of hard core SS prison camp warders, and eccentric geniuses. They send criminals back through time, to observe and record the events leading to the release of a man-made virus-that wipes out most of the human race. Despite the advent of such technological break-throughs, such as time travel, the scientists seem to build a bizarre collection of gadgets, reminiscent of the 1920's through to the 1950's. However, this seems to fit their strikingly strange personalities. It seems most of the characters portrayed are a collection of misfits and 'left of center' personalities, which brings forth the question 'what is normal anyway?'

The mentally unstable Cole is sent in error to the wrong time on numerous occasions, and eventually he questions reality. He is both rescued and aided by Cassandra Railly (Madeline Stowe). He kidnaps her and they eventually falls for each other, and she aids him. Cassandra comes to realises, Cole knows future events as they unfold before them. The introduction of Jeffrey Goines (played by Brad Pitt), another unstable character with a string of verbal quotes that make you think and laugh-with twisted logic and challenging ideas. There is startling insight into the craziness of our Western culture. Listen closely to the dialect, as these two volatile minds strive for their destinies.

The violence factor can be graphic and harsh at times. The performances are realistic and credible, and really draw you into their world. The plot does make more sense as it unravels, building to a thrilling finale. The film is truly entertaining, in a bizarre, twisted, and humorous way. Bruce Willis show his 'botty' and Madeleine Stowe her lovely legs, so the 'oogling fraternity' will have their fill. I dare say Madeline would not make a good psychologist, her dress code inside the lock-up insighted raucaus behavior from the inmates rather than subduing them.

The script was written under Terry Gilliam's direction, and the over tones of Monty Python do rear up and the design of futuristic sets with decor mismatches is a dead giveaway. Christopher Plumber and David Morse provide firm supporting roles, and do not detract from the fabulous roles played by PItt, Stowe and Willis. Brad Pitt won a Golden Globe Award for his performance.

The film was inspired by a short film called La Jetee by Chris Marker in 1962. David and Janet Peoples were recruited to write the script under Gilliam's madcap guidance. Universal allowed a $29.5 million USD budget to the filmakers and it grossed approximately $168.8 million USD on the cinema circuit. The film was mostly shot in Baltimore and Philadelphia, which is where is was set. If you like sci-fi thrillers and a good laugh, it is one for the list. For a more in-depth synopsis click here, if you have never seen the film, perhaps you may wish to watch it first. Copies are available on Amazon for $2.00 to $4.33.
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Why? A fun sci-fi thriller that will keep you laughing.
When: Anytime.
Cost: Used and new copies can be bought on Amazon for $2 to $4.33.
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