Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Hamster Factor, and other tales of Twelve Monkeys

Despite the creative differences (or should we rather call it “ideological and aesthetical war”?) over the film “Brazil” from 1985, director Terry Gilliam returned to Universal Studios as a director-for-hire for the film “Twelve Monkeys”.
Although he was guaranteed the final cut of the film, Gilliam feared history would repeat itself, and he would again lose control of the project; but this time he wanted to have witnesses, he wanted to have someone who would tell the story to the rest of the world, which is why he hired two fresh film-study graduates, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe to shoot a documentary about him shooting the movie.
This is the two young filmmakers’ first major project, but that hardly shows during the 87 minute feature, if at all. The film starts of gloomily, with Gilliam reading terrible reviews about “Twelve Monkeys” in newspapers. It then takes us back not to the beginning of the shooting, but to Gilliam’s relationship with Hollywood over the years, so the viewer understands his first reluctance to accept the project and the difficulties which will ensue during production.
The film not only captures the process of the making but also gives insight into Gilliam’s twisted and complicated mind, and shows the emotional rollercoaster he is on, either loving to be on set or threatening to leave it permanently.
Being a documentary about the making of a movie, and about one director, the film will probably not capture the attention of a general audience, but Fulton and Pepe did an excellent job, and no fan of Gilliam or his film should miss this feature. And those who have not seen “Twelve Monkeys” (188 on IMDb top 250) should see it, and then the documentary

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