Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam)

Rating: 3.5					Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

It ain't quite BRAZIL, but it is Gilliam back in top form.  Let me 
confess at once that I haven't yet seen LA JETEE, so I can't say whether 
this big-budget Hollywood remake is a blasphemous bastardization of Chris 
Marker's landmark photo-essay, as some have suggested.  Strictly on its 
own terms, however, I found it a marvel: intelligent, complex writing 
(one of the few films this year that has sustained discussions with 
friends for hours); performances ranging from more than adequate (Willis, 
Stowe) to inspired (I'm on the "Brad Pitt was amazing" side of the fence, 
and you can take your hissing elsewhere); typically eye-popping set 
design and art direction; and unexpected lyricism from a less-frenetic-
than-usual Gilliam.  The film has trouble maintaining a tone (though this 
bothered me less upon a second viewing), and Willis, who does some of his 
finest work as Cole (the scene in which he tears up while listening to 
"Blueberry Hill" is very touching), still isn't quite good enough to 
fully inhabit this extremely difficult role, but this is nonetheless one 
of the two or three best studio films of the year, and easily the most 
ambiguous and haunting.  It also features my favorite line of dialogue of 
1995: Simon Jones' "Good thinking about the spider, Cole; try to do 
something like that again!"