Yet another film that views the future of humanity as a grunge pit, about as darkly as Gilliam's own "Brazil", but houses a fiendishly perfect underlying message.
The film has all the workings of a modern thriller. The time travel intrigue is very credibly done and the plot is riveting. The decor looks cobbled together from the debris of the 20th century. Cities are either scabby Skid Rows or towering skyscrapers. Scientists still work in laboratories that look like old postcards of Thomas Edison inventing. Bizarre killers and villains are hurled at our protagonist (Cole, played by Willis), and there are many bloody fights.
Bruce Willis is superb in his rendition of a man from the future, especially his impish reverie on listening to simple music. Brad Pitt does more than he typically does in movies, which is perhaps why he overdoes it. He almost makes the manman he plays a laughable caricature.
But all of this is just the plumbing for what the movie is really about -- its vision. With a little pondering, forced or naturally invoked, one can actually identify with all the craziness of this movie. Beneath its slick sci-fi veneer, it actually couches a rather gloomy message of how we are letting our supposed technological advancement govern our fate.
Brilliiant script, excellent visuals, and some delectable but pithy insanity. Highly recommended, to purchase, not just rent.