“Zero Must Equal 100 Percent.” Visionary director Terry Gilliam’s first film since 2009’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is much anticipated among science fiction fans. The Monty Python alumnus has made quite the career for himself as a top notch sci-fi director, with movies such as 12 Monkeys, Brazil, Time Bandits, and 12 Monkeys under his belt. His newest film, The Zero Theorem, explores a strange, Orwellian world, and now the newly released trailer has given us our first look at it.
The Zero Theorem premiere at last year’s Venice Film Festival, and also made the rounds during last year’s Fantastic Fest. The trailer looks great, with a bald Christoph Waltz as “Qohen Leth,” front and center. The film almost looks like a companion piece to Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil.
Gilliam even compared The Zero Theorem to Brazil in an interview late last year. He said, “I think Zero Theorem is vaguely related to Brazil in that it tries to deal with the madness of the world in 2013. Through the Internet and smartphones we are overwhelmed with connectivity and information.
From the looks of the trailer above, it seems like The Zero Theorem might have a hard time winning over general audiences. Fans of Gilliam and the genre will show up to theaters, but will the larger movie-going American public?
Gilliam started production on The Zero Theorem in early 2013 in Romania, so the film is entirely complete. It was originally positioned to open in a limited release during the holiday season, but the film’s distributor, Sony Pictures, got cold feet.
So far, Gilliam’s latest has gotten a mixed critical response from film critics. The Zero Theorem currently holds a 56% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Gilliam’s films frequently don’t catch on with audiences until years after they’re released, so it’s going to see the reaction once the film goes wider. Just remember, Brazil wasn’t held in such high esteem when it was released in 1985, but now the film is seen as a perfect satire on the corporatization of the world. Needless to say, Gilliam movies are an acquired taste.
The Zero Theorem takes place in a future where numerous “man-cams” watch everything you do, in public and behind closed doors. The Orwellian government is led by an intrusive figurehead called “Management” (Matt Damon), who oversees and controls the society. Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz), a reclusive computer genius, is working on a formula to solve the mysteries of life and existence, but is constantly distracted from his work by the seductive Bainsley (Mélanie Thierry) and Management’s son, Bob (Lucas Hedges), who threaten to put an end to his findings.
Gilliam’s latest also stars Sanjeev Bhaskar, Peter Stormare, Ben Whishaw, Dana Rogoz, Emil Hostina, and Tilda Swinton. At the moment, Sony Pictures is releasing The Zero Theorem in the U.S., but they have yet to announce an official release date.