Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, David Morse, Christopher Meloni
Intriguing. Vivid. Thrilling.
The year is 2035. Lions and other feral animals roam the post-apocalyptic cityscape. It’s been nearly 40 years since a deadly virus wiped out most of humanity. James Cole (Willis), a prisoner, is sent back in time to locate the source so that a cure might be created. He gets sent back too far and his pursuit of the virus’ origin is derailed by his being locked up as criminally insane. Based on a short film by Chris Marker, La Jetée, Terry Gilliam uses this intriguing premise to fashion his bizarre version of a classic Hitchcock film (there are several references to Vertigo in the picture). You have a protagonist, Cole, thrust into a situation with dire implications, mostly against his will, who begins doubting his own sanity. Along the way, there are several red herrings and an odd but satisfying romance with his doctor, Kathyrn Railly (Stowe). 12 Monkeys is a skewed vision of the future matched with a delirious odyssey through time. I, for one, have never been able to fully wrap my head around the paradoxes or the implications made throughout the film, but I love these kinds of thrillers. Think of Hitchcock’s 39 Steps, one of the most entertaining films ever made, wherein the protagonist is chained to a woman who loathes him, while unknown enemies chase them. We get that recycled wonderfully here with Cole and Kathryn.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-