The Zero Theorem – Terry Gilliam’s top 5 movies

Posted on 18 March 2014
By Jack Pearson
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Terry Gilliam fans around the world will be flocking to cinemas to see his latest sci-fi, The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz.

Terry tackles a recurring theme in his movies, a vision of a dystopian future, and The Zero Theorem is set to display the surrealist kitsch aesthetic, for which he is known.

To commemorate The Zero Theorem’s release, here are our Top 5 Terry Gilliam films for you to watch and get you in the mood for his new release.

5.) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Although co-directed with Terry Jones, we felt that this film had to make the list at least as a way to get Monty Python onto it.

The film follows the adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the round table in the typical Monty Python silly fashion.

Made on a shoe-string budget, highlights include the Knights who say Ni, the bridge of death, coconut horses(due to budget constraints) and the killer rabbit.

4.) Time Bandits

Although aimed at kids, this fantasy epic is not to be sniffed at. Workers for “the supreme being” AKA God, decide to steal a map of time and use it to steal from historical figures for all their worth, dragging a young boy, the protagonist of the story along for the ride

The time bandit’s victims include Robin Hood, Napoleon, the Titanic and a Greek king played by Sean Connery.

The film is a great fun and full of hilarious moments, and in true Monty Python wacky style, includes a giant emerging from the ocean, and carrying a ship on its head!

3.)Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Featuring a young Johnny Depp, this film follows the true life adventures of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, as he travels across early 70s America.

The film also features his “attorney” Benicio Del Toro. The pair trash hotel rooms, (making full use of their press privileges), take large amounts of hard drugs and subsequently suffer from intense and vivid hallucinations, which Terry thrusts upon us with his usual flair for all that is visual.

As well as being a hilarious vivid representation of counter 60s drug culture, the film also shows the danger of drug induced deliriums, with Del Toro frequently holding Johnny Depp at gun point.

2.) Twelve Monkeys

In arguably one of Brad Pitt’s best roles, Terry delivers us a paranoid, bold and chilling vision of the future.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, to prevent the deadly chemical that brings the world to its knees ever being released, Bruce Willis playing in perhaps his most vulnerable role, is sent back in time to stop the mysterious Twelve Monkeys, who are thought to be behind it all.

Brad Pitt plays an eccentric mental health patient who’s jitters and eyes twitches pull a fantastic unlikely performance out of the bag.

This film demands that you watch at least three times to fully understand all the little ins and outs that flesh this film out to be one of the best time travel stories in cinema.

1.) Brazil

Brazil is also set in a dystopian future, like Twelve Monkeys, but the villain of this film is not mass death, but the bureaucracy, that ties the entire society down to ineffectual practices that heed progress.

The film stars Jonathan Pryce, a civil servant who’s happy to work at a lower level then he’s capable of, despite his mother’s insistence that he take promotion.

He has vivid dreams of flying through the sky with angel wings, taking off and leaving the atomized society he finds himself in.

Trouble emerges when a government worker makes a mistake causing the wrong man to be arrested. Due to the mass bureaucracy of the government departments, no one wants to take responsibility for the mistake, causing blame to be shifted about.

Pryce is eventually wrongfully blamed for the mistake and has to go on the run from the government.

Robert De Niro also features in the film as a vigilante of sorts, who fixes Pryce’s heating so he doesn’t have to wait for months and months for all the paper work to go around and his boiler gets fixed.

The film is difficult to define in a short summary like this, but rest assured it is Terry Gilliam’s most crazy, outlandish and hilarious film, that hopefully the Zero Theorem will emulate for fans.