Brazil Review

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A file-clerk living in a nightmare future world pursues a mysterious young woman.


Next to Time Bandits, Terry Gilliam's nightmarish sci-fi epic is arguably the director's most sustained artistic achievement yet.

The story of a daydreaming file-clerk (Pryce - superb) battling the Orwellian "Ministry of Information" as he searches for the girl of his dreams echoes Gilliam's own much-publicised off-screen battle with the monolithic workings of MCA, specifically its president Sidney J Sheinberg, whom the director successfully fought for the right to final cut.

Gilliam's finished film is notable for its uniquely claustrophobic atmosphere, like an inescapable fever dream somewhere between Kafka and Monty Python, and set within one of the most brilliantly realised dystopias in sci-fi cinema.

Gilliam's dystopian epic remains among his best, blending his trademark visual inventiveness with a vicious brand of social satire. Unique and essential.