The films have no direct connection, but they all deal with similar themes: oppressive corporatism, existential angst and an over-reliance on dysfunctional technology.
Waltz plays Qohen Leth, an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian world controlled by a lurking, omni-present entity called “The Management.”
Qohen is given the seemingly insurmountable task of solving the “Zero Theorem.” It’s a mathematical formula that can determine whether life has any meaning.
In contrast, “Brazil” is about a man trying to find a woman who appears to him in his dreams. His life is compartmentalized and mind-numbingly boring, while an intensely bureaucratic government oversees all facets of society. He romanticizes the woman in an attempt to overcome his ennui.
In “12 Monkeys,” the protagonist is a convicted criminal living underground in the year 2035. A plague released 40 years earlier has wiped out most of mankind, and he’s sent back through a crude time machine to discover the origin of the virus and attempt to prevent its spread.
What Gilliam’s previous works are any help in explaining “The Zero Theorem” is problematic. Leth, who calls himself “We,” must contend with constant distractions created by The Management, including a fetching blonde played by Mélanie Thierry.
The film premiered at the 70th Venice International Film Festival last September and was generally well received.
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