The Movie Club Review : 12 Monkeys

12 monkeys

by terry gilliam

TDB will now be collaborating with the Movie Club to present a review of a must-watch every issue. The best part? The movie will be available on  DC++!

Writer’s note: ­ I was asked to write a review on an underrated movie . Now, this word has confused me for quite a while now and I’d like to acknowledge and highlight its real meaning, once and for all. A quick Google search tells me that what it really means is that an underrated movie is not a movie which isn’t well known but one which did not get the acclaim that you think or maybe many people think it deserved, financially or critically. It’s a subjective term, one based on your opinion and not something which is universal. So please, for the love of god, stop asking google for ‘underrated’ movies but search for terms like ‘good’ or ‘entertaining’.The movie I’m about to review now is 12 monkeys for it falls under the category of being not-so-popular but it is still something that everyone deserves to know about.

Editor’s Caution: Insanely informal, pseudo and deceptively cool conversation ahead.

Bro 1: My fellow dudes and dudettes, I’d like to watch a good mind-screwing movie being the bro that I am.

Pretentious Bro 2: Bro dude, let’s watch a Nolan film. I’ve only seen Nolan films my whole life but I’m sure he’s the best director this planet has ever seen. I mean, I didn’t really get the ending of Interstellar but bro, I believe he is the most mind-screw guy ever. Hence, conclusively, let’s watch some Nolan flick, please.

Bro 1: But I’ve watched almost all of his movies and they have a few logical plot holes here and there and unnecessarily confusing sometimes. What I want is a good science fiction movie which is simple to follow but still blows my mind, somehow. (*play sound of Nolan-lover Editor taking offense*)

Pretentious Bro 2: Simple? What are you, 11? How do you expect a movie to be simple as well as mind-blowing? It taints the very logic by which the world functions.

*mouths a word which sounds a lot like ‘noob’ but we’re not going to publish it because we have some standards as a magazine.*

Cool Bro 3: listening to their conversation from a distance, wearing shades at night for some reason while listening to AD/DC, removes the jolly rauncher from his mouth and begins talking. Bro 1, what if I told you there is such a blessed film? What if I told you that it stars Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. The blessed movie called 12 monkeys!

Overly long intro done, now let’s get into the movie shall we? Not many people have heard of 12 monkeys and it’s honestly quite baffling to me. Released in December 1995, this movie answers the question everyone asks themselves before they go to bed, “What if Iwas sent back in time to prevent the spreading of a deadly virus which caused the human apocalypse, but then no one in the past believed me, so they send me to a mental asylum?”. That is the premise of the movie and it is intriguing to say the least. So basically our protagonist is James Cole played by the ever brilliant Bruce Willis who has a talent for remembering stuff. He’s sent back in time by a group of surviving scientists some 30 years after the human race has been wiped out by a virus and as soon as he goes back he realises that he’s been sent to the wrong year and is captured by 1990’s people and sent to an asylum for blabbering nonsense like “I’m from the future, look at me” (Not actual dialogue). Here he meets this crazy guy Jeffery Goines played by Brad Pitt and they decide to escape together. Now, honestly I’d tell you more but here onwards literally every scene is a spoiler.This movie will remind you of a lot of modern movies released way later but was actually released full 2 decades back. Hell, had this movie been released even today, it would have still blown people’s minds for being so amazing. I cannot help but think that this film inspired directors like Nolan or David Fincher. Way ahead of it’s time. Every scene feels eerie and mysterious and in the best way possible. The creepy scenes are actually creepy, the insane characters will legitly whack your brain and the thriller elements do manage to give you goosebumps. Every frame feels like it’s telling its own story, pulling you in to get drenched in its brilliance.

You don’t actually care about stuff like cinematography or art styling so I won’t bother discussing that . One thing worth discussing is the Screenplay. To simply put it, it is smooth as butter. The movie has a complicated plot but you never have to think much about what’s going on, it plays itself out smooth in front of you and is very refreshing to be able to enjoy a science fiction movie without having to worry about solving a 5 dimensional temporal equation. (Nolan ouch, again. The Editor is hurt.)

Yes, a good movie should engage the mind, but it shouldn’t fly over someone’s head, but must seep through it, destroying everything in its path. That is what this movie succeeds at – easy, coherent narration of the story while the plot does it’s own magic.

The acting is undoubtedly an ­A. People usually call Leo DiCaprio the underachiever but Brad pitt in this nails every scene he’s in. Bruce Willis is cool too, but Pitt steals the show this time. All the characters are well written and well acted. Their motivations feel real and their actions are well justified. The plot is brilliant, there’s a twist to keep you entertained every 5 mins and the “mind-screwing” scenes, sure do their job. How this movie is lesser known than Fight Club also starring the amazing Brad Pitt is really perplexing to me.

If I had to make a complaint about the movie though, it would be about the screen­time. A few scenes could have been shorter but even these long scenes feel like they were written to show the actors’ expressions off.

Bottomline: Amazing movie. Please do yourself a favour and watch it.

Movie comparison: Terminator + I am legend + Nolan’s ambiguous ending

Viewer subject to his/her own opinion. The Daily Bitsian is not responsible if you take offense. Live and let live, and all that. 

Jaisurya Nanduri


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