Terry Gilliam Criticism - Essay

Fred Glass (review date Summer 1986)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Brazil, in Film Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 4, Summer, 1986, pp. 22–8.

[In the following review, Glass examines the psyche of Sam Lowery, the main character in Brazil, and the cause of Sam's fantasies.]

During the long-awaited year 1984 a veritable deluge of articles, books, talks, speeches and more were given over to discussion ad nauseam of Orwell’s book and prophecies. Nineteen Eight Four became the province, in 1984, of a battle for the most prevalent interpretation of totalitarian society—whose resembles it more, “theirs” or “ours”: the USSR or the USA. It should have surprised no one that most leftist accounts...

(The entire section is 4807 words.)

David Morgan with Terry Gilliam (interview date Autumn 1988)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Mad Adventures of Terry Gilliam,” in Sight and Sound, Vol. 57, No. 4, Autumn, 1988, pp. 238–42.

[In the following interview, which took place on location during the filming of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Gilliam discusses the progress of the film.]

‘I get the feeling that, a bit like Brazil, the making of the film is going to be like the film itself. Where Brazil was about a nightmare, this one is about impossibility and overcoming it, and trying to push through a lot of things and a lot of people who don’t think they can do it, because they are realistic.’

Terry Gilliam obviously knew, perhaps...

(The entire section is 4871 words.)

Elizabeth Drucker (review date September 1991)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Fisher King: Terry Gilliam Melds the Modern and the Mythical,” in American Film, Vol. 16, September, 1991, pp. 50–1.

[In the following review, Drucker offers an analysis of Gilliam's directing technique in The Fisher King.]

Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) is New York’s top shock disc jockey—that is; until one of his careless on-air remarks triggers a horrific tragedy. Three years later, at rock-bottom, Jack encounters Parry (Robin Williams), a former professor of medieval history who roams the streets living in a world he’s invented to block out memories of a personal trauma. Only Parry, an innocent, has the power to help Jack recover his...

(The entire section is 743 words.)

Philip Strick (review date April 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of 12 Monkeys, in Sight and Sound, Vol. 6, No. 4, April, 1996, pp. 56–7.

[In the following review, Strick describes 12 Monkeys as a confusing, muddled film that was inspired by, but is not as good as, Chris Marker's La Jetée.]

Philadelphia, 2035. Sheltering underground from a virus that has killed most of the world’s population, a group of scientists sends randomly selected criminals to monitor conditions in the derelict city above. One such ‘volunteer’ is James Cole, a surly and violent convict haunted by the childhood memory of a man shot down in an airport corridor. Impressed by Cole’s toughness and powers of observation,...

(The entire section is 1427 words.)

Barbara Fister (essay date 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Mugging for the Camera: Narrative Strategies in Brazil,” in Literature Film Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3, 1996, pp. 288–92.

[In the following essay, Fister explains that Gilliam's use and misuse of cues in Brazil makes the viewer rethink what is “real” in the film.]

Brazil has a curious history. Terry Gilliam, a former member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, created a dystopia so devastating, and yet so compelling, that Universal refused to release it without a massive editing job, reshaping it to match the expectations of the public—and the studio marketing strategists. Gilliam would not agree to their changes and made a...

(The entire section is 3495 words.)

Bob McCabe with Terry Gilliam (interview date June 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Chemical Warfare,” in Sight and Sound, Vol. 8, No. 6, June, 1998, pp. 6–8.

[In the following interview, Gilliam discusses adapting Hunter S. Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the screen.]

In 1967—amid the turbulence generated by the escalation of the war in Vietnam, the build-up to the San Francisco summer of love and the explosive Los Angeles race riots—Terry Gilliam left his home country of America for England. Thirty years later he went back to take “a savage journey to the heart of the American Dream” by bringing Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the screen. Thompson’s 1971 book began...

(The entire section is 2286 words.)

J. Robert Craig (essay date August 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Trapping the Simians in the Scottish Highlands: A Viewer Response to the Hitchcock MacGuffin in Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys,” in Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, Vol. 19, Nos. 3–4, August, 1998, pp. 244–9.

[In the following essay, Craig analyzes the misleading aspects of 12 Monkeys in an attempt to discern the actual meaning of the film.]

In a key scene in Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995), James Cole (Bruce Willis) and Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) take refuge from their pursuers in a movie theater holding an Alfred Hitchcock film festival. As the two plan their next move and discuss their feelings for each other,...

(The entire section is 3231 words.)

Linda Ruth Williams (review date November 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in Sight and Sound, Vol. 8, No. 11, November, 1998, pp. 48–9.

[In the following review, Williams discusses the over-the-top excesses in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.]

1971. Journalist Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr Gonzo drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in a red convertible, beginning a huge drugs binge. They check into the Mint Hotel so Duke can cover the Mint 400 off-track race the following day, take more drugs and run up a huge room service bill. They visit Bazooka Circus casino on ether.

The next day Gonzo departs and Duke drives to Baker, California. On the way be is stopped by a...

(The entire section is 1001 words.)