Any time Terry Gilliam makes a movie is a notable event for us, science fiction or not. Even when he’s working outside the genre, he manages to infuse all of his films with a sense of magic, wonder, and fantasy. His latest film, The Zero Theorem, has gathered mixed reviews, but we’re still excited to see it, especially after watching this latest official international trailer. If it feels like this movie has been coming and coming forever, you’re not wrong. After premiering at the Venice Film Festival, we’ve seen stills and trailers and clips and all kinds of promos, but there’s still no word on a U.S. release date.
In The Zero Theorem, Christoph Waltz plays a strange, reclusive computer genius, Qohen Leth, who is having something of an existential crisis—he feels nothing, no joy, no anything. When he is given a high priority new project aimed at proving the meaning of life, or more precisely, to discover that life is totally meaningless and it all amounts to nothing, he starts to come unraveled. Into all of this comes a mysterious and alluring woman, Bainsley (Melanie Thierry), and he falls into a rabbit hole of love and desire and may just find out that there is a reason for everything after all.
The world of the film resembles that from Gilliam’s dystopian classic Brazil, where everything has become increasingly corporate and overly bureaucratized. This is a place where the Church of Batman the Redeemer grows and thrives, and advertisements and QR codes and marketing materials are slapped on every available surface. Considering there are even ads on mats in the bottoms of urinals anymore, this future doesn’t really seem all that far off.
Gilliam’s trademark fantastical visual flourishes are all over the place in this trailer, including the images of Qohen and Bainsley apparently swimming naked among the stars…
…and then there’s that highly stylized matte painting sunset that looks like it could honestly be a leftover from the dream sequences in Brazil.
Gilliam recently directed the opera Benvenuto Cellini, and continues to try to make his dream of a Don Quixote a reality. That long-gestating project met with yet another set back just the other day when it was announced that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which was supposed to film this fall, has been pushed back into 2015. Sometimes you have to give up on the dream.