Life’s a beach for The Zero Theorem’s Christoph Waltz and Mélanie Thierry.
THE ZERO THEOREM (Terry Gilliam). See listings. Rating: NNN
Don't let anybody tell you complaining gets you nowhere. After experiencing online backlash over the indignity of a Terry Gilliam movie going straight to disc in Canada, Mongrel Media reversed its decision and booked The Zero Theorem a two-week engagement at the Royal.
The unofficial closer of the dystopian trilogy Gilliam began with Brazil and Twelve Monkeys, the film is set in a glum near future. Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz), a mathematical genius, toils in the massive research division of an all-powerful corporation.
True to Gilliam's lifelong fascination with chaos, Leth is working on the opposite of a grand unification theory, pursuing the idea that life, the universe and everything is ultimately utterly meaningless. He's getting close, which is why his employer's rivals are doing their best to distract him - or is something else going on?
The progression of the plot isn't particularly original, but The Zero Theorem is more interested in doodling in the margins of the standard SF conspiracy thriller. Gilliam just keeps upping the weirdness in an increasingly bizarre series of encounters between Waltz and the likes of Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton.
And if the movie doesn't fully congeal, I honestly don't think it matters. Gilliam's concocted an anarchic riot of ideas and imagery, and it's a fun ride.
Hold off on the home version. Gilliam made this movie for the big screen, and it simply won't have the same impact on your TV. You need to be locked in the dark with it.
Opens Friday (August 1) at the Royal. See listings.
See Norm's top five produced, abandoned and rescued movies here.