Time travelling is not exactly a child’s play, as James Cole (Bruce Willis) will come to understand the hard way. While in prison, James gets an offer he cannot refuse – he is to travel back in time to 1990 to gather information about a deadly virus that will wipe out most of the humankind. In turn, he will get a full pardon. Naturally, James accepts the offer, but will he make it?
The film is inspired by the 1962 French short La Jetée, which has since gained a cult following. At first, the film studio had not been prepared to invest a large amount of money in the film’s production, but then Willis lowered his usual asking price, and the shooting could finally begin. Already in its opening weekend the film proved to be a huge box office hit.
Even though some critics complained about the film’s jumbled plot, the audiences welcomed this dystopian study of the collapse of the human civilisation and the subjective nature of memories and their effect upon perceptions of reality, resulting in the film becoming a favourite for many film enthusiasts. 12 Monkeys showcased the grandeur of Gilliam as a director of flawless visual poetry, and surreal and wondrous atmosphere, as well as a filmmaker who was much more than a silly and playful Monty Python jokester. Finally, in today’s Covid-19 world, the film is, unfortunately, very current and relevant.
Terence Vance Gilliam (born November 22, 1940) is an American-born British film director and animator, and the only non-British member of the Monty Python comedy troupe (he held dual American and British citizenship until 2006, when he renounced his American citizenship). Gilliam has directed 12 feature films, including hits such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Time Bandits (1981), The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). Gilliam’s films mainly revolve around the issues of identity, consciousness, common sense, reality, and illusion. Most of the time, the plots are fantastic and take place in the imaginations of the main characters, who find themselves in conflicts or grotesque situations, often with an unhappy ending. Gilliam also deals with certain social issues, including bureaucracy, deviant behavior, and class differences. The atmosphere in his films is typically dark and uncomfortable, even though there is often humor there. Terry Gilliam was given the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2009 for his contribution to motion picture arts. Over the years, he has been nominated for a number of other awards and recognitions.