Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Zero Theorem (2013)

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer:    Pat Rushin
Cast:       Christoph Waltz, Melanie Thierry, Lucas Hedges, Matt Damon, David Thewlis

A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the Universe in the end returns to nothing, rendering life ultimately meaningless. But such meaning is what he really craves as he is constantly waiting for a particular phone call that would explain to him the meaning of life.

Matt Damon represents the Management for which Qohen (Waltz) is working and the former is kind of like the 'Architect' from 'The Matrix'. At one point in the film Gilliam actually mocks Matrix by having Management's son, Bob, telling Qohen jokingly that he is 'The One' that Oracle prophesied. Bob is in someways a mix of Brad Pitt's characters from '12 Monkeys' and 'Fight Club'. Gilliam constructs a typical absurd Orwellian Universe in the film where the characters talk funny and are twitchy and quirky. The basic plot of socially awkward genius finding love with a girl only to realize that she is in fact a call girl arranged for him is not that novel, but when it gets the Gilliam treatment it is interesting nevertheless. It seems what they are going for is the idea that the Universe we exist in is in fact a simulation and Qohen embraces this in the final scene. Thing is, the actual depth of the film's idea seems a bit flimsy and its depiction of entity crunching a bit silly but because of the excellent cast it is very much watchable and funny if you are the sort to embrace Gilliam's eccentricities. My favorite film of his is '12 Monkeys' followed by 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' and his Monty Python works. Fisher King was also excellent but when I watched 'Brazil' some years back, I didn't particularly enjoy it. I guess I will appreciate it more if I do a re-watch. 

Overall it is more than a good watch without being all that great. It was good to see Waltz in a very different role because the two academy awards that he got through Tarantino films were for playing essentially the same character. He was also good in Polanski's 'Carnage', a film that I very much enjoyed and is gonna play a Bond Villain in the next installment of it, Spectre.

Rating: 3.5/5