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Film Review Brazil (1985) by Terry Gilliam Essay

“Brazil” is set in a dystopian future, where society is closely monitored and its freedoms infringed upon by the Ministry of Information. The film is a humorous approach to the dystopia genre, which isn’t surprising given that the film is directed and co-written by Terry Gilliam (the creator of Monty Python). The film is the story of Sam Lowry, who has a boring life working for the Ministry of Information until it changes through a strange events, which shows us ministry as a bureaucratic jail.

The sets, costumes and props in “Brazil” create a dazzling and interesting world to see. The film features colourful and fantastic dream sequences which provide an escape from Sam’s dull life. Despite the simplicity of the main plot, the movie is full of subtexts and images carrying a message which you may not see them on the first viewing. In one scene, a man is buying “clean air” from a vending machine on the street. The sides of the streets are walls of billboards which keeps the environment hidden from people‚Äôs eyes.

In a holiday-decorated store a small child tells Santa she wants a credit card as a present for Christmas. The film is much more difficult, this may turn some people off. Makers had so many things to say in one movie. First of all this is a film about systems breaking down: a dead fly drops into a printer, causing a misprint which leads to a man’s death penalty (Just because of misprint! ); heating systems break down, and they cannot repair them because the support system is overstretched. It is also a film about systems destroying humanity.

With everyone having their own defined role in the heavyweight system that control every part of the life, nobody has to take personal responsibility for common problems; mistakes are almost somebody else’s problem, and nobody really feels they have do something to change the situation. ‘Brazil’ is simply unlike anything you have ever seen before. The ending to the film is particularly powerful, with Gilliam offering us a typical happily-ever-after ending, and then breaking in the final seconds. After all, in such a dystopian society, a happy ending is not only unlikely, but it is near impossible.


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