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Twelve Monkeys

USA 1995
produced by
Charles Roven, Robert Cavallo (executive), Robert Kosberg (executive), Gary Levinsohn (executive) for Atlas Entertainment, Classico/Universal
directed by Terry Gilliam
starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, Frank Gorshin, Jon Seda, Harry O'Toole, Joseph Melito, Michael Chance, Vernon Campbell, Joey Perillo, Rozwill Young, Frederick Strother, Rick Warner, Anthony 'Chip' Brienza, David Morse, Jann Ellis, Janet Zappala, Christopher Meloni, Paul Meshejian, Robert O'Neill, Kevin Thigpen, Lee Golden, Joseph McKenna, LisaGay Hamilton, Felix Pire, Matt Ross, Michael Ryan Segal, Carol Florence, Drucie McDaniel, John Blaisse, Pat Dias, Aaron Michael Lacey, Charles Techman, Joilet Harris, Louis Lippa, Stan Kang, Johnnie Hobbs jr, Thomas Roy, Korchenko, Chuck Jeffreys, Barry Price, John Panzarella, Larry Daly, Arthur Fennell, Karl Warren, Jeff Tanner, Faith Potts, Annie Golden, Lisa Talerico, Stephen Bridgewater, Ray Huffman, Jodi Dawson, Jack Dougherty, Lenny Daniels, Herbert C. Hauls jr, Charley Scalies, Carolyn Walker, H. Michael Walls, Bob Adrian, Simon Jones, Bill Raymond, Ernest Abuba, Irma St. Paule, Bruce Kirkpatrick, Wilfred Williams, Nell Johnson
written by David Webb Peoples, Janet Peoples, inspired by the film La Jetée by Chris Marker, music by Paul Buckmaster

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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In 1996, a virus was released that had decimated humankind to about 1% of its current number by 1997. Subsequently, the humans have been driven from the face of the earth, with the animals taking over again. Now, a few decades later, scientists have discovered a very crude way of time travel, and they send Cole (Bruce Willis) back to 1996 to prevent the release of the virus - though history doesn't give them much clue how it happened other than an animal rights group called Twelve Monkeys first releasing it. However, they sent Cole back a bit too far, to 1990, so before the virus was developed or the Twelve Monkeys even existed, and due to a series of misfortunes, Cole lands in a loonie bin, where everybody thinks he's batshit crazy, except for two people, his psychiatrist Kathryn (Madeleine Stowe, who thinks that there's more behind his "delusions" than just madness, and Jeffrey Goines - problem with the latter, he actually is batshit crazy, but he does take Coles ideas a bit too seriously, and helps him escape ...

Ultimately Cole is dragged back to his own time - with little to show ... but he's given a second chance to make things right - but he gets to 1996 via a trip to the First World War, where he's wounded in the leg, and ultimately he sees no other option but to take Kathryn hostage to get him around the country. She's frightened to death of course, but soon starts to have sympathy. Eventually, Cole manages to uncover the truth about the Twelve Monkeys, they're actually a group founded by Jeffrey Goines in his honour, and Jeffrey has since been released from the loonie bin and now lives with his father (Christopher Plummer), a Nobel Prize laureat and ... virologist. Cole puts two and two together and wants to prevent the future from happening, but soon finds himself on the run from the police, with Kathryn his only ally - but while she by now trusts him quite a bit, she still think he's off his rocker - and then Cole disappears into thin air again (into the future, actually).

While Cole's gone, Kathryn finds more and more evidence that everything Cole said was true, that he hasn't been one bit insane, and that the Twelve Monkeys might indeed be a threat to humankind - and then Cole returns to 1996 again to safe the human race ... but now he thinks he is crazy, and only Kathryn can get him back to normal again, and she needs to get him back on track to prevent the Twelve Monkeys from doing what they're going to do. Thing is, there are a whole lot more layers to this story ...


Loosely based on Chris Marker's groundbreaking science fiction short La Jetée, this is actually a highly original movie that's a perfect example for serious, anti-utopian science fiction done right: It's a story without any clear heroes and villains, everybody's in the grey, the film features a complex but in itself very logical story that never takes any easy exits, the thing doesn't hit home any messages with a sledgehammer but concentrates on tight storytelling, and don't expect this movie to end happily, either. And on a directorial level, this film is just typical Terry Gilliam, painting very detailed images of the often grotesque and absurd without giving in to any Hollywood streamlining, proving himself once more to be a very visual director, while Bruce Willis, then still one of the major action stars, gives one of the best and touching performances of his career of the man who constantly wonders if he's crazy or not and still has to save humankind. Plus it's really fun to see Brad Pitt (back then pretty much "hot stuff" of the hour) going batshit crazy.
A must-see for sure!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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