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If you're craving a movie that will delight your eyes, tickle your funnybone, stroke your cynicism and stimulate your brain, watch Terry Gilliam's Brazil.
Be warned: you may need to watch it twice before it all starts to fit together. There's a slight muddling of things, due to the insanity of the central character, that can make this film a little tough to follow the first time through. Fear not, Gentle Reader: the other elements are so dazzling that you'll hardly mind.

Brazil tells the story of an everyman in an absurd world of buck-passing and computer bugs. He takes one small action to set a wrong right and inadvertantly sets himself against The System.

Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowrie, office cypher. Sam is an everyman, an innocent caught up in the grim realities of a "retro-futuristic" orwellian world that eerily resembles our own. Newcomer Kim Griest plays Sam's love interest and Katherine Helmond does a brilliant (if horrific) turn as his salf-absorbed mother. Sam's hero and inspiration comes in the form of a subversive duct-repairman, played by Robert De Niro.

The supporting cast is fantastic. Look for a scene in which Sam accidentally steps on the foot of Kathryn Pogson's character for the best illustration ever of the old adage about 'no small roles'.


Every frame of this film is art: a delicious visual collage of art movements of the 20th Century. The grim, overbuilt world created here is beyond detailed - it's baroque and surreal. Sam escapes from this into a fantasy world of equal proportions, breathtaking and seemingly inspired by Maxfield Parrish - so you know I wasn't complaining. Similarly, the soundtrack is gorgeous. The title theme, a haunting tune from the 1930's, was the inspiration for the film and appears throughout in various forms.

Anyone who has worked in an office in a big city will relate to this scenario. Consequently, they should expect nightmares after viewing... but they'll be gorgeous nightmares!