Terry Gilliam has been entertaining audiences for 45 years. Sure, said audiences might not have been too “wide,” but Gilliam has definitely carved out his own niche over his very long career. Whether its little people stealing stuff through time, a scarily accurate depiction of Hunter S. Thompson’s drug fueled haze, or a bunch of idiotic knights trying to find a divine chalice, Gilliam’s work has inspired many a crazed loon over the decades. So it’s nice to see that five years after his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Gilliam’s newest effort The Zero Theorem is coming out, complete with a trailer to marvel us.
In the seemingly-distant-though-probably-not-that-far-off-future, computer genius Qohen Leth (Christophe Waltz) lives an unfulfilling life working in an Orwellian future under the watchful eye of the mysterious entity known as “Management.” One day, Leth is assigned an insurmountable task: to solve “The Zero Theorem” – a mathematical formula which will determine whether or not life has any meaning. As Qohen tries to solve the titular equation, he finds himself interrupted by a fair share of distractions, including the seductive Bainsley (Melanie Thierry), Management’s teenage son Bob (Lucas Hedges) and the recesses of his own mind. Watch the trailer below:
As fully displayed in the trailer, this is a Terry Gilliam fan’s dream. The film looks to be echoing elements of Gilliam’s previous works, from the Orwellian future of Brazil to the grimy plastic production design of 12 Monkeys. In fact, Gilliam himself has previously stated that Zero is the third in his loose trilogy of dystopian future films, following Brazil and Monkeys. It’s clear that Gilliam is putting his usual brand of satire on full display here. One would even say that it’s blatantly obvious, given the giant screens that pollute the city scape and the central idea of an equation that holds the secrets to the meaning of existence.
Then again, Gilliam has never been known for his subtlety. Ever since his Monty Python animation days, the man has laid on his points thick, whether it be a joke or a critique of how we live our lives. Hell, a lot of what Brazil stated back in 1985 has actually come to pass and, even if I don’t always agree with what Gilliam is trying to say, he always manages to craft an interesting package around his messages. Plus, in the case of Zero Theorem, that package is shock full of talented folks, including Waltz, David Thewlis, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare and Ben Whishaw as well as a colorful visual style that the trailer promises. And even if it doesn’t work… it’ll probably still be better than Brothers Grimm.
But what do you all think of the trailer? Is Terry Gilliam back in top form? Will he craft another dystopian future worthy of his previous efforts? Post your thoughts in the comments below!