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Twelve Monkeys

Released on 04 November 2010

Featuring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt & Madeleine Stowe

Format: DVD | Rating: 15 years & over

4.0 out of 5 (15 customer reviews) | Write a review

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A lone time traveller from the year 2035 must solve a riddle that may save his people... but it may also take him to the brink of madness. Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe and Brad Pitt star in this brilliant sci-fi masterpiece from Terry Gilliam. After the world's population is devastated by a killer virus, survivors must live in dark underground communities. Cole (Willis) "volunteers" to travel into the past to obtain a pure virus sample, thereby helping scientists develop a cure. Along the way, he crosses paths with a beautiful psychiatrist (Stowe) and a one-card-short-of-a-full-deck mental patient (Pitt). But the race is on, as Cole searches for The Army of the 12 Monkeys, a radical group linked to the deadly disease.

With unforgettable performances and imaginative special effects, 12 Monkeys is a modern-day classic laced with Gilliam's trademark wit and dazzling visual style.
  • Documentary: 'The Hamster Factor and other tales of Twelve Monkeys" (87 minutes)
  • Interactive Menu
  • Scene Access

customer Reviews

 Average rating (15 reviews)

 Go ape

| | See all lascenara17's reviews (97)

Terry Gilliam is infamous for being more hit-and-miss than even the latter day Francis Ford Coppola, but even his detractors will agree that when he gets it right he creates dazzling, mesmeric cinematic canon.
Working at his best with vast and infinite themes, Gilliam feels comfortable and innovative with the subject of time-travel and the circular placement and references to visual and aural motifs. Throughout the film tiny bits of information are highlighted as remnants of the past, or the future, but ultimately they never really explain anything. Instead, we, as groups or individuals, must make up our minds about everything that happens, from the smallest to the largest of events.
Taking time travel and altering realities as contextual touchstones, the film mainly concerns itself with the human reactions to madness. Bruce Willis' 'Cole' and Madeleine Stowe's 'Kathryn' begin to exchange their mental states repeatedly throughout the film, whilst Brad Pitt's clearly mental 'Jeffrey' at times seems the only one who has a set direction to travel in. These actions throw up the debate about whether realities are conjured in some or all of the minds of the characters or whether they're living in the real world, as manufactured by someone else.
Heavy and confusing stuff, but with a powering narrative the audience is encouraged to combine their thoughts with new ones conjured by the extraordinary visuals. Granted, most of the film takes place in a mundane Philadelphia but the sudden bursts of dirty futurism, coupled with queasy and intruding camerawork totally offbalance any comfort in watching without being challanged. Gilliam's mantra has always been to rile and incite the audience to think actively and this is exactly how he constructs the film.
Performances in such a movie are usually built to order. Pitt is reliably committed to being the most genuine nutcase this side of 'Cuckoo's Nest', while Willis shines as the mentally fractured convict 'Cole' who slowly starts to piece a realistic future for himself. Stowe is also an underrated talent, riffing off both Pitt's craziness and Willis' fragile humanity.
As a final touch the film alludes to many facets of pop culture, albeit in sly, covert ways that prick on the occasional intelligence one might posess. The most obvious example is the homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo', complete with green suit and red lighting, perfectly mirroring that film's own analysis on the elastic extremeties of the human mind.
This is not a film for anyone hungering after entertainment, or for fans of either Willis or Pitt. This is a film for fans of intellectually strong and meditative films that dare to question issues outside the picture screen. And of course, it's an assured must for Gilliam fans themselves. One of cinema's true Chinese puzzle boxes.

 Sensational

| | See all SingingCathy's reviews (9)

Terry Gilliam, the mastermind behind Monty Python's wild animations and the critically acclaimed feature 'Brazil', brings us 'Twelve Monkeys', a thought-provoking post-apocalyptic thriller starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt in a Golden Glode-winning role.

The year is 2035 and 99% of the Earth's human population has been eradicated by a deadly virus, forcing the few that remain to live far beneath the surface. In an attempt to find out more about the virus, scientists from the future send back criminal James Cole (Willis) to find clues and learn more about the mysterious Army of the Twelve Monkeys, a terrorist group thought to have released the infection.

Gilliam's film is a great expression of just how brilliant a film-maker the former Python actually is. The stunning visuals, wonderful ideas and thought provoking twists make 'Monkeys' a unique motion picture which really does require the viewers imagination to make any sense at all.

Willis and Pitt give the performances of their career and Madeleine Stowe is fantastic as Phycologist Kathryn Railly. It is said that Gilliam, to get the desired effect from his star, took away Pitt's cigarettes to aid him wth the quirky mannerisms and fast paced diologue of the character; which just goes to show how far the now renowned film-maker will go to deliver an awe-inspiring film to his audience.

-Dan Henry

 Monkey Magic

| | See all Murray20's reviews (1)

I would recommend any Terry Giliam movie, but this has to be top of my list.
It would be easy to dismiss or overlook this film. you read the description and see sci-fi/time travel and expect a run of the mill tacky movie right?
Twelve Monkeys is not just a run of the mill sci-fi movie, it's also (as most of Gilliams films seem to be) a study into insanity.
As the story jumps forwards and backwards in time, you really get a feel of the torment in Cole's (Willis) mind. He starts to question if all this is really happening or if its all in his imagination, and all the time you are right there with him asking the same questions. Gilliams visuals capture this beautifully, and although im not usually a Bruce Willis fan, he puts in an excellent performance here and really brings the character of Cole to life. There is also a fantastically funny performance by Brad Pitt, who plays an inmate of the lunatic asylum which Willis finds himself in.
If you havent seen this film, i thoroughly recommend it.

 Brilliant time travel film!

| | See all slickloose's reviews (56)

This is yet one more great film starring Bruce Willis. I don't wanna give away the plot but if you like time travelling films than you will love this sci-fi classic!

 Excellent film, flawed DVD

| | See all Pugwash69's reviews (26)

The film cannot be faulted. Excellent story, great performances (especially by Pitt) and typical Gilliam polish.
It's a shame the DVD is non-anamorphic but otherwise a must-own.

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ActorsBruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe, Frederick Strother, Christopher Plummer, Frank Gorshin, Jon Seda, Lisa Gay Hamilton, David Morse, Simon Jones & Michael Chance
DirectorTerry Gilliam
Certificate15 years and over
Year1995
ScreenWidescreen 1.85:1 ; Fullscreen
LanguagesEnglish - Dolby Digital (5.1)
SubtitlesEnglish for the Hard of Hearing
Duration2 hours and 4 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.