Blind Spot 2012 Review: 12 Monkeys
What We ThoughtGenre: Sci-Fi
What We Liked :Career performances from Willis and Pitt Trademark camera work
What We Disliked:Ending leaves too many loose ends
Peel away the mysteries of 12 Monkeys and witness the beginnings of our own dystopia.
Terry Gilliam has always been known to make weird films. Just look at Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Brazil for prime examples. 12 Monkeys doesn’t stray too far from his usual visions, but its fueled by a career best performances from Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. Terry Gilliam’s trademark cinematography is also all over this picture. 12 Monkeys belongs in the class of dystopian film classics as the hero of this story struggles with despair and failure whatever time period he visits.
It is the year 2035. In 1997, a deadly pandemic was released upon the earth killing most of its inhabitants. Prisoner James Cole (Bruce Willis) has volunteered to collect information about the past to find a cure for the future. The scientists of the future have offered Cole a pardon for his sins if he succeeds in finding the vital information. Through a sophisticated process, Cole is transported back to 1990. He was supposed to be sent back to 1996 to stop The Army of the Twelve Monkeys from unleashing the pandemic. Since his knowledge about the future is considered ridiculous to the world of 1990, Cole is institutionalized.
Unable to fix his current predicament, Cole starts being treated for mental delusions. During his stay in the mental ward, Cole meets Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), an attending psychiatrist who seems to have a strange familiarity with Cole. He also grows close with fellow patient, Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) who has delusions of grandeur. Cole’s treatment is consistent with that of other patients, but after a brief commotion he gets detained. What really shocks the doctors is that he has disappeared from the padded room they placed him in.
Cole returns to 2035. The time travel process seems to damage his mind to where he is questioning his own reality. The team of scientists are disappointed that Cole failed to discover the truth behind the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, but are willing to give him another chance. Cole is now fighting against returning to the dystopian future where people live underground or living in a past that allows him to see the sky.
12 Monkeys wouldn’t be as successful without the performances from Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. Typically seen as an action-hero, Bruce Willis is seen in 12 Monkeys as a man with a fragile mind. There’s moment where the insanity is truly believable. While there’s time in the film where he’s asked to do the duties he’s known for all-in-all it’s an atypical Bruce Willis performance. On the other hand, there’s Brad Pitt. The Hollywood pretty-boy has never looked this crazy before. Complete with a lazy eye, Pitt’s Jeffrey has all the nervous ticks and motions of someone who suffers from mental illness. It’s easy to imagine a crazed mastermind when the camera is focused on Jeffrey Goines.
Inspired by La Jetée (1962 French science fiction film), 12 Monkeys is a trademark Terry Gilliam film. Its bizarre camera angles and hazy images all lead to an all too scary glimpse into a desolate future. While the ending will leave some viewers disappointed, others will enjoy the ideas it presents. Peel away the mysteries of 12 Monkeys and witness the beginnings of our own dystopia.