Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
TODAY
Exclusive: Jurassic World Sequels Planned
Plus Colin Trevorrow on Omar Sy
Robert Downey Jr. Reveals First Official Pic From Age Of Ultron
Genius billionaire playboy publicist?
Roberto Orci Wants To Direct Star Trek 3
And he's splitting up his writing partnership with Alex Kurtzman
Jon Turteltaub Directing It's A Small World Movie For Disney
The ear worm ride is being adapted...
Jessica Chastain Goes Blonde
She's in talks to be Marilyn Monroe for Andrew Dominik's latest
Len Wiseman Opens Black Chapter
Paranormal espionage activity?
Andy Fickman Attending My Owner's Wedding
He's set for a new canine comedy
Star Trek Writers To Reboot Flash Gordon
Update: Gordon's alive! At Fox!
Seeker Finds A Writer
Callie Kloves will adapt the YA novel
Adam Rifkin Chewing On Peeps
Producer buys sweet brand as next movie
More Movie News

RELATED NEWS
09 April 2014
Matt Damon May Be The Martian
But Drew Goddard won't direct it
More Movie News

RELATED FUTURE FILMS
Interstellar
07 November 2014
More Future Films

RELATED REVIEWS
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Zero Theorem (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Zero Theorem (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Monuments Men (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Teenage (2014)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Comic-Con 2013: The Zero Theorem Panel
Terry Gilliam is unleashed in a surreally beautiful looking new film

19 July 2013  |  Written by Helen O'Hara  

submit to reddit

The Zero Theorem

It's difficult to describe the sizzle reel of Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem without sounding a bit touched in the head. There's Christoph Waltz with a completely shaved head, living in a future that looks like Gilliam's Brazil if that society discovered neon in a big way. A flamboyantly-dressed and extraordinarily coiffed David Thewlis walks through an office that looks like a casino; French starlet Mélanie Thierry flounces through a series of fetishistic outfits and claims to enjoy nudity, prompting Waltz to run away in a hurry.

Matt Damon (Gilliam says he's not supposed to admit that Damon's in the film, but he's clearly onscreen) seems to be in charge; Tilda Swinton is terrifying and appears to be taking the role of psychologist; Ben Whishaw is stuck in a lab again, but now he's working with Peter Stormare.

It's dizzying, barmy and looks like Brazil crossed with Twelve Monkeys, with the visual flair of The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus expressed in a hyper-coloured, hyper-stylised way and lots of the lyricism of that ballroom sequence in The Fisher King. There's a repeated refrain of "Zero must equal 100 per cent", the idea that the sum of everything is nothing and a sense that the world is trying to drive our hero insane. It looks, in other words, like Terry Gilliam has succeeded in making a Terry Gilliam film in a way he hasn't done for years.

Introduced by a manic, panicked Gilliam - who claimed he was being held hostage by his producers while finishing the film, and was relying on the NSA to get his video message to us - we are promised that this film includes no superheroes or zombies, but that it does feature what Gilliam considers Christoph Waltz's best performance and a breakthrough for Thierry.

Then we got to see the opening ten minutes of the film. It began with what looked like a black hole, surounded by oil-slick colours and hiding lightning in its depths. We zoom out, and a hairless Waltz apparently floats in front of a screen, naked and defeated but about to start his day. He appears to live in an abandoned church, festooned with the pipes of Brazil, and steels himself before venturing into a loud, aggressive world where news channels are called DuMBC and ads loudly recruit for the Church Of Batman The Redeemer.

At his office, it's even worse; Matt Damon's stern visage stares down from a poster that says "Management has everything under control" while appalling slogans like "Arbeit macht Fun!" and "Corporations Sans Frontiers" twirl overhead. Waltz's work seems to involve pedalling maniacally on a stationary bike while playing video games, but he's very productive. That hasn't made him happy, however, and he's fighting for a disability assessment so that he can work from home. It's not a spoiler to say that he doesn't get all he wants.

The footage we saw was funny, gorgeous and seriously weird. Gilliam fans are going to be thrilled; he's back in his wheelhouse, but this doesn't feel like a retread for him. We can't wait to see more. Maybe Gilliam's producers were right to lock him up until it's done. The Zero Theorem is out late this year or early next, we hope, although there's no confirmed release date for the UK or US just yet.


Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Theatrical Trailer For Last Vegas Online
Grumpy Old Men Behaving Badly
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

Empire 300th Issue: The Directors' Cut Cover
Spielberg, Whedon, Fincher, Abrams Mann and more take over

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)