Cosmic, confusing, cluttered; spiritual, surprising, strange; dystopian, dream-like and daring are all words that spring to mind when thinking about this film. The story follows a paranoid, delusional, reclusive loner (who also happens to be a genius) through a dark and twisted anarchic tale reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil'; but with added chaos.
Frivolously futuristic digital landscapes are combined with hints of classic Gilliam style handmade models a la his introduction to 'Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life' and the cityscapes in 'Brazil'; as well as the token surrealistic living, breathing pipes and dark, smokey environments, similarly found in Mr Gilliam's 'Twelve Monkeys'.
Visually stunning, the dazzling digital dystopian world portrayed in the film is colourfully cluttered and filled with subtle and not so subtle symbolism and uncertainty. For example, above the protagonist's desk a bright neon sign flashes 'Work Makes Fun', provoking a twisted comparison to the disgusting fascist Nazi slogan 'Work Makes Free'. Whether this was done on purpose to coincide with the lead actor's previous role in Tarantino's 'Inglorious Bastards' is basically unknown to me; but with so much to take in, I am left with the feeling that this is one of those films that might just reveal much more to the viewer each time it is watched.
At times shocking, disturbing and even difficult to sit through, the film progresses into a thing of immense beauty and wonder. It explores existential philosophical and theological concepts, like that of the soul, the purpose of life, nothingness, and essentially the meaningless question: 'What is the Zero Theorem?'
It seems to have something to do with zero equalling one hundred percent, but with no mention of the history of zero and the fact that for many centuries there was no such thing as the number zero, or the still perplexing issue of dividing by zero; I am quite uncertain of the answer. Touching on religion, quantum physics and maths, one wonders whether the answer may reflect the mysterious number at the heart of Thomas Pynchon's book 'Gravity's Rainbow'; but then again, maybe this is just going too far.
Anyway, if you want to find out for yourself (and maybe even if you don't want to), I suppose that you are just going to have to go and watch the film; and I suggest that you do.