Terry Gilliam’s latest film, The Zero Theorem just hit video on demand yesterday—with a theatrical run to follow on September 19. Early reviews have been mixed, but we’re still excited to finally see what has been described as a warmer, cuddlier version of the director’s earlier dystopian films like Brazil and 12 Monkeys. If nothing else, we’ll always get pumped up for a Terry Gilliam movie, no matter what. To mark the release, there are now a half-dozen new character posters.
The film stars two-time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, who plays a strange, isolated computer genius named Qohen Leth, who lives by himself in the charred husk of a church. That’s a good place for an isolated weirdo to dwell. When Management (Matt Damon) gives him a mysterious project—discovering the meaning of life—Qohen is besieged by existential angst, unwanted visitors, and distractions from every side. He eventually falls in with Melanie Thierry’s Bainsley, a sexy, flirtatious woman who comes into his orbit, and that’s when things start to get really interesting and his world view opens up.
Each of these posters introduces you to one of the main characters, and gives you a quote that sheds a little bit of light on their personality. First up, understandably, is Qohen Leth himself. His mission is not only to discover the meaning of life, but to prove, once and for all, that the meaning doesn’t really mean that much.
Not only does Bainsley dress like a sexy nurse and have an alluring accent—how is a reclusive, obsessive computer nerd to resist—but she represents a side of life that Qohen rarely, if ever encounters. He experiences life through a computer screen, through buffers, while she represents a much more visceral, tactile, passionate part of the world.
David Thewlis (Harry Potter) plays Job, Qohen’s wacky, unpredictable co-worker.
Tilda Swinton, never one to choose mundane, routine roles, pops up as Qohen’s digital, pseudo therapist, Dr. Shrink-Rom.
And then there’s Management’s son Bob (Lucas Hedges), a child prodigy pushing Qohen from behind, and probably being a snot-nosed punk to boot. They always are.
This trailer for The Zero Theorem shows off a world that is vintage Gilliam. Bright and boisterous, there’s also his trademark strangeness, as well as a substantial dark streak that we’ve come to expect from his movies. You also see why this film is garnering widespread comparisons to Brazil, with is suffocating bureaucracy, twisted public sensibility, and lonely protagonist drawn in directions never though possible by a mysterious beauty.