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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Film of '85
Brazil is a masterpiece of cinematic brilliance, and arguably Terry Gilliam's best film. I loved this movie when I first saw it in 1985 and still do today, having just purchased the newly released 3 disc HD Criterion edition. This is one of the best sci-fi's ever shot, reminiscent of 1984 but with a comedic slant. The visuals are fantastic and bizarre, thus the oscar for...
Published on Oct. 2 2006 by B. Campbell

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but what about this Criterion box set itself?
There are a million different takes on the actual movie "Brazil," but what I hope to do in this review is actually rate the collection put together by Criterion.
The 3-DVD box set of "Brazil" starts off with the "final final" director's cut of the film, topping out at 142 minutes. (There are eight minutes of footage added to this...
Published on Jan. 6 2004 by Daniel L Edelen


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Film of '85, Oct. 2 2006
By 
B. Campbell "Rattlehead" (Calgary, AB) - See all my reviews
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Brazil is a masterpiece of cinematic brilliance, and arguably Terry Gilliam's best film. I loved this movie when I first saw it in 1985 and still do today, having just purchased the newly released 3 disc HD Criterion edition. This is one of the best sci-fi's ever shot, reminiscent of 1984 but with a comedic slant. The visuals are fantastic and bizarre, thus the oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. Terry and company also won for best screenplay. This movie is one of a kind, though that can be said for most of Gilliam's work. The plot follows one Sam Lowry, a government employee, through his quest to find justice for a man wrongly accused of a crime due to a typographical error on a government form. Some of it won't make sense right away, but be patient. Whatever you do, do not rent or buy the abbreviated 94 minute version.

The full version clocks in at 142 minutes and is

thoroughly enjoyable. A true visionary made this film and it needs to be seen by any open-minded movie buff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the definitive look at this masterpiece, Sept. 19 2003
By 
Cubist (United States) - See all my reviews
Brazil is, arguably, Terry Gilliam's crowning achievement. Originally called 1984 1/2, this film was embroiled in an infamous battle to be distributed. The studio didn't like Gilliam's version and cut together one of their own. Gilliam went to the press and got the L.A. critics behind his movie and finally shamed the studio into releasing his version.
Criterion's 3-DVD set documents the struggle Gilliam went through to get his film shown. Disc One contains his cut of the film with an informative and entertaining commentary by the director. The second DVD contains the bulk of the extra material. Not only is Gilliam's struggle documented but also various aspects of the production are examined -- including the screenplay, costumes, art direction, etc. The final disc contains the studio's ....py cut with a film historian's audio commentary documenting why this version sucks.
Once again, Criterion comes through with an exhaustive look at an important film of modern cinema. Brazil is a brilliant satire of a dystopian society run amok by pointless bureaucracy. Anyone who has worked a souless job in an office will immediately empathise with the protagonist's plight. Like any great work of science fiction, Brazil offers more questions than answers -- not everything is wrapped up neatly, instead the viewer is left questioning certain aspects of our modern society. Great stuff.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie about dreams and hope, March 13 2002
By 
Paul A. Mcdowell (United States) - See all my reviews
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Brazil, despite the science fiction, social commentary and surrealism, is at it's core a film about a man who trapped by the mundanity of life, imagines himself in a more fantastic world.
Jonathan Pryce stars as a tiny unimportant member of a vast hyper-capitalistic society. Life is cold and dreary for everyone. All his spare time is spent dreaming of magical romantic worlds and the beautiful woman who lives there. One day, a simple beaucratic mistake causes a monumental disaster. Not that anyone cares... they just don't want to be blamed. Sent to solve the problem, or maybe to be a scapegoat, Pryce accidentally meets the literal woman of his dreams. As he pursues her, he brings suspicion on himself of being a terrorist (the scourge of the government), and his dreams begin to invade his waking thoughts.
A suprising list of talent lend themselves to the film and is written, minus Kafka and Orwell themes, by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam so expect some obvious humor and much biting satire throughout. Depressing and magical without losing it's hope, any person who can identify with the main character should find themselves entranced.
Despite being made in 1985 the special effects prove to be suprisingly effective (although easily noticed). I personally think this movie is the second best Science Fiction film, 2001 being first, and the best 1984 type movie ever made.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Symboism+Laughs="Brazil", May 7 2000
This review is from: Brazil [Import] (VHS Tape)
Filled with deep symbolism and dark humor, "Brazil" is a dynamic movie that, in Terry Gilliam's words, is not about the future, "but the present." There are some moments of sheer genius in this film. One is the restaurant scene in which a terrorist bomb explodes on the other side of where some characters are eating. The unharmed patrons pause for a moment, then, unblinking and without turning, go back to their meals and conversation. The musicians, some slightly charred, resume playing. And, capping it off, Sam's youth-obsessed mother, Ida (the divine Katherine Helmond) says to her friend, "What were we saying?" as workers scramble to set up a screen so that the dying and burning cannot distort the lovely view. This is Grade-A commentary on the way civilians ignore horrible crimes because of their commonplace occurrances. It often takes a presidential assassination, a bombed federal building with millions trapped inside, a downed airplane lost at sea, a Columbine High School, a Titanic, or a towering inferno to make everyone look up for two seconds before you hear them say "Oh, God, is that STILL in the papers?" Another shining moment is actually several moments. Ida's gruesome but intriguing plastic surgery, along with her increasing youth throughout the picture, goes up alongside her friend. This friend, visiting an "acid man," rapidly deteriorates throughout the film until she is a nasty, gelatinous mess, tipping its hat (so to speak) to the Beverly Hills facelift crowd. The other great achievement is the repeated appearance of forms. Forms, forms, you can't repair a wire, or even get another form, without one. Beauracracy is another great target of "Brazil." This is one film not to be missed, but will only be understood even slightly, unfortunately, by painfully few (not even Roger Ebert got it. Ha! Imagine that!). Still, it deserves to be noticed as one of the greatest films of modern years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but what about this Criterion box set itself?, Jan. 6 2004
By 
Daniel L Edelen (Mt. Orab, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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There are a million different takes on the actual movie "Brazil," but what I hope to do in this review is actually rate the collection put together by Criterion.
The 3-DVD box set of "Brazil" starts off with the "final final" director's cut of the film, topping out at 142 minutes. (There are eight minutes of footage added to this release.) The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 dimensions. Fact is, the transfer of the movie is so-so.
For all the Criterion hoopla, the print here is flawed. The notes pay tribute to a few digital scratch removers, but I was truly surprised by the amount of garbage in the print (dirt, empty spots, and such) that litter the frames. One of Sam's initial dream flights has considerable gunk inhabiting the lower left corner, and any frame by frame analysis will reveal an endless parade of bits of stuff inhabiting every shot. To be honest, I expected a lot more here and if there is any criticism of this collection, it lies with this fault primarily. They could have cleaned everything up considerably more than they did. And that's a shame at this price.
Colors and contrast in the print look good, though, and the sound is fabulous. They pulled out a full stereo soundtrack and made it sing, so kudos there, too. The sound is clean and vibrant.
The booklet detailing the film is good, but not the best I've seen, even for a lesser boxset. The content listings for the other two DVDs are little more than a single overview sheets.
Director Terry Gilliam's commentary track on the first disc is priceless and fascinating, almost worthy of the cost for the set alone. As a film geek, I personally find all director commentaries to be interesting, so I may not be the best judge. In this case, though, Gilliam gives us a rich look at the film that stands up to the best of other directors's commentaries I've heard.
Criterion's skimping on the booklets is made up for in the second disc, which contains all the background of the film. "The Battle of Brazil" is the high point as Gilliam and some of the Universal Studios execs discuss the crazy backstory that almost led to the demise of the film as we know it. The film's handlers and financiers all fretted that they had an arthouse piece that would go nowhere, but Gilliam refused to make the desired cuts or to swerve from the darkness of the ending. It wasn't until he managed to sneak a final edit of the movie to the Los Angeles Film Critics organization that he was able to outduel the execs. When the critics lauded the film and lavished their prizes on it, the naysayer's bluff was called and the film was released, albeit to only modest box-office that barely made back its money. Film critic Jack Matthews hosts this slightly more than an hour examination of the battle between the creative forces and the forces of pragmatism.
The second DVD also includes "What is Brazil?" - a mostly throwaway behind the scenes look at the making of the film that features the cast and some of the writers. I didn't find it particularly illuminating.
The big disappointment in the second DVD is that many of the production notes covering the design, special effects, score, and more are not filmed, but simply text. I wanted more than that. Somewhat disappointing. There are some good insights into the flying effects in the dream sequences, though. That much of it was model work is simply amazing.
The last DVD features the bowdlerized, 94 minute TV syndication release of the film dubbed "Love Conquers All." This happy ending version was done apart from Gilliam and probably represents what the studio heads had hoped would be the released version. "Execrable" is too kind a word to use to describe this version. Critic David Morgan's commentary notes all that was left out, and a few scenes that were added back in. While this version isn't worth your time, it is worthy of inclusion in the set, fleshing out the madness that almost killed the movie entirely.
I have always considered "Brazil" to be genius, frankly. As a dystopia, the world it portrays out-Orwells them all. If you hate bureaucracy--and who but bureaucrats doesn't--then this is the film for you. And only Gilliam would be daring enough to make a renegade HVAC repairman a mythically heroic addition to that world.
Plenty of people don't get this movie and I don't know why. Roger Ebert loved "Dark City," but passed on "Brazil," inexplicably, so even critics aren't perfect. Many of today's films owe much to "Brazil" and that alone makes it important.
In the end, three stars for the package and five for the film itself. The lack of a more pristine print subtracts two full stars from what would have otherwise been a perfect review, however. Criterion's boxset, though flawed, is still the best way to experience the film, so if you are a fan of "Brazil" or Gilliam's work, this is the only way to fly.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Terry Gilliam likes Fedrico Fellini. Pass it on., July 20 2004
By 
Antonio Giusto (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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I love Terry Gilliam. I think he's the most visionary film maker out there today. The only problem with some of his films is his urge to mimic scenes from Fedrico Fellini's films. He seems to be one of those directors that are overly influenced by the great Italian director. Maybe not for others but for me it really takes away. I've seen all his movies and can't help but cringe when I see his little un-subtle scenes that are tributes to Fellini. The most rediculus one is in Fear and Loathing where he gives the name of a circus act "The Flying Fellini's." In Brazil it's the whole first person view of flying through clowds. That was so obviously lifted from Otto E Mezzo (8 1/2) and was really un-nessisary. We get the point Terry. You like Fedrico Fellini's films.
Besides the whole Fellini thing Brazil is a brilliant movie visually. The story could have used a bit more polish. I felt the same way about "Time Bandits" too. I also wouldn't go as far as to say it's his best eithor. I would give that praise to "Fear and Loating In Las Vegas."
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4.0 out of 5 stars a bizzare and frightening film, June 23 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Brazil (Widescreen) (DVD)
If you enjoy futuristic Sci-Films then I would heartily reccomend this, as it presents a number of interesting and imaginative concepts.
The setting is the far future.The world is a polluted wasteland. A strange network of wires covers the ceiling of every room.
A corporation-government, Central Services, controls all trade enterprises. Any who indulge in the businesses they control (which are almost everything) without the proper paperwork are labeled terrorists. So, unfortunately, are those who criticize Central Services' inane policies.
Their Cops, clad in spacesuits that look like they came straight out of David Lynch's adapatation of "DUNE", frequently capture these "terrorists" to be interrogated, tortured, and/or executed with bizarre devices.
The "food" eaten by the characters in this film is premasticated garbage, into which are stuck pictures of what the characters believe they are eating.
The rich and powerful under Central Services rule get daily facelifts and parties,
and they strike the viewer as stupid and frightening.
The plot of the film concerns a daydreaming young paper-pusher (Jonathan Pryce) for Central Services' Ministry of Information who discovers a glitch in some paperwork that led to the wrongful arrest and unfortunate execution of Archibald Tuttle, who was mistaken for Archibald "Harry" Tuttle (Robert DeNiro), who has fallen out with the law because of his entrepeneurial fix-it man services.
Soon, a truck-drivin' gal(Kim Greist) who witnessed Archibald Buttle's wrongful arrest pleads for his release to the Ministry of Information, who label her a terrorist.
Later, The young MOI employee notices her picture in the lobby of his workplace, and decides to pursue her. He saves her from being arrested, and, in doing so, is labeled an enemy of society, which eventually leads to his tragic end at the hands of his friends(Ian Holm and John Palin).
This frightening look at the evils of technology, corporations,wrongful arrests, and totalitarian governments is not to be missed by any except the very young(if it gave ME nightmares, imagine the effect it would have on a seven-year old boy!) .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark art which set a new standard for dystopic film, May 29 2004
By 
J. Maynard Gelinas "maynard255" (Somerville, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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I'm going to assume that those reading these reviews have actually seen the film. If you haven't, and are considering this purchase, please go out and rent a copy first. If possible, rent the Criterion version as it's vastly superior to the Universal DVD release. I say this because the film presents such disturbing imagery, has such a byzantine and convoluted plot requiring repeated viewings to understand fully, and the denouement ends so tragically that the film leaves audiences polarized between those who love and those who hate it, with few left in between. Rent it first. If you hate it, save your money.
The Universal release has gone out of print, and given the films history with that studio it's unclear if they will ever release another copy. The Criterion release is still available, but it's not a High Definition remaster and is simply a copy and transfer from their previous LaserDisc release in 1.85:1 letterbox. It's not anamorphic, so if you own a 16x9 HDTV you won't see the benefit of your modern television. I contacted Criterion recently asking about a re-release of Brazil in anamorphic and was told they have no intention of doing so. Further, there are rumors that the Criterion version is about to go out of print as well. Which would leave this landmark film without any US distributor if true.
If you're an art-film buff, enjoy foreign film, and regularly attend art-house cinema, this is a film you simply *should* see. The visuals are stunning. The acting superb (other than Kim Griest's somewhat lackluster though acceptable performance). The story is filled with ambiguity over what is dreamscape and what is reality, so there are at least two points in the film where the protagonist's experience could have diverged from reality to insanity: the traditional demark being where Jack is killed by terrorists as he is torturing Sam, and the other being where Sam and Jill are caught by storm troopers in the department store as they're helping shoppers after a terrorist bombing. The latter interpretation resolves those complaints about Jill's swift transition from hating to Loving Sam, but isn't as clearly dreamscape because certain plot points aren't as obviously impossible during that earlier stage as after the rescue.
This film, while derivative of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, Kafka's The Trial, and Orwell''s 1984, has also been vastly influential on other film-makers; particularly in its visual creativity. Much of Tim Burton's work is clearly derivative of Brazil, and other Gilliam films. And in some ways, one could argue that Gilliam's use of multi-layered background conversation and critical plot points told in background imagery could be said to be derivative of Robert Altman's multi-layerd sound and visual techniques crafted in the '70s. No artist is alone, and certainly Gilliam has stood on the shoulders of cinematic giant's, but so are new filmmakers standing on Gilliam's shoulders now too. He is an important cinematic artist, one who deserves better than this release, and required viewing for all who consider filmmaking an art-form and not simply blind entertainment. You will not be entertained by this film. You may laugh hysterically at points throughout the film, like in Dr. Strangelove, but by the end you will probably find yourself sad and somewhat depressed. If you see it with a date, expect a long conversation about its meaning relative to the modern world and not the expected out-come *cough* of a movie with a date.
And you might even hate this film afterward. But even so, it's still genius film-making. Genius doesn't have to be fun. Often it's disconcerting and confusing, by definition. If it weren't, it wouldn't have been landmark in a way that changed the art-form. And this film has shifted the landscape and imagery of film-making over the last twenty years in a way that few others can claim. Only genius can do this.
Thank you for this gift to your audience, Terry. And to the distributors: Please re-release the Criterion director's cut anamorphic and continue selling Criterion's wonderful extra features. It's a film-school semester in a box.
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5.0 out of 5 stars We're all in it together, kid..., May 21 2004
By 
C. Gardner (Washington D.C., D.C. United States) - See all my reviews
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"Brazil" is a masterpiece, and more relevant today than it was in 1985. Terry Gilliam has an inclination to indulge the perverse and carnivalesque in his films, but here it works brilliantly as a counterpoint to an excellent script which does not spell out every detail about the strange, out-of-time society we're witnessing; its tone fluctuates wildly, from slapstick to ominous to and back, but that's really just a mildly diverting side-effect of the multidimensional work of art that it is, one of the films for our troubled times.
An enormous bureaucratic government has so become enmeshed with private corporations as to be one. The government's war on terror and surveillance of its citizens sucks in seven percent of the gross national product. Every day seems to be Christmas Day (to keep the economy going?). Plastic surgery and age-reduction techniques are rampant (for the elite). Every interior space is marred by ugly heating/air conditioning ducts, every exterior straight out of Albert Speer's sketchbook. The Ministry of Information routinely kidnaps people, interrogates them, then charges their bank accounts for helping assist the government in their war on terror. Stuck in here as a contented cog in the machine is Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a clerk whose high-society mother pushes him towards a career he'd rather not take on, preferring his world of boredom and fantasizing about his dream woman. Central Services, which maintains the infrastructure of everything, is inept and understaffed and "don't take kindly to sabotage" when a do-good heating repairman named Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro) works alone at night intercepting people's calls for help. When Sam's heating breaks, Tuttle enters his apartment and convinces Sam to let him fix it. Several days earlier, a dead insect fell into a Ministry of Information computer and caused a typographical error which resulted in the imprisonment and death of an innocent man, Archibald Buttle, instead of the Archibald Tuttle they were seeking, who is a terrorist charged with "freelance subversion." Sam asks him, are you...? Tuttle says, "My good friends call me Harry." He explains why he roams the night: He can't stand the paperwork.
The next day, Sam takes initiative over his meek boss and gives Mrs. Buttle her refund check for her husband's interrogation/torture/murder and there, sees the woman he has been fantasizing about. And there is his move towards redemption, and his downfall. Brazil has a brilliant, mind-bending conclusion which throws everything before it as ambiguous and which is a clear parallel to Orwell's "1984" which it has been claimed it is very loosely based upon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A truly out of mainstream film, April 27 2004
By 
Ted "Ted" (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
The film itself has a long history of controverser surrounding the director Terry Gilliam and his insistance to release the film uncut.
The film, has an Orwellian plot, (it was even released in Europe in 1984) including materials that can even parallel the pre-2003 war Iraqi government. The government agency of the film is called "Ministry of Information"
In this world, convicted criminals have to pay for their arrest, interrogation/torture, and trial. A literal bug causes the computer to misspell the name of a suspect causing the wrong man to be arrested for crimes against the government. This film has some great photography and the DVD has two versions of the film.
This is a 3 disc box set. Disc one has the original uncut version of the film with commentary by Terry Gilliam. Disc three contains the version of the film that was heavily cut and aired on television with commentary by David Morgan. Disc two has all the special features. The special features are two documentaries on the film, (one of which is a Criterion exclusive) Theatrical trailer, many pages of production notes and a slideshow on props and posters.
The film has an all star cast including Robert DeNiro, Jonathan Pryce, Ian Holm, and Bob Hoskins. This set is a must buy for Terry Gilliam fans
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Brazil (Widescreen)
Brazil (Widescreen) by Terry Gilliam (DVD - 2003)
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