March 13, 2014 6:57 pm

The Zero Theorem – film review

Computer-hacking fantasy set in the laboratory of madcap scientist Christoph Waltz
Christoph Waltz as Qohen Leth in Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem - at cinemas 14 March 2014

Terry Gilliam, director of The Zero Theorem, marches to his own drummer and by now we recognise him instantly: a zany-gaudy timpanist banging out tattoos of fantasy or apocalypse. Even Brazil seems cool and considered compared to this latest brainstorm, hectic with effect, scripted by Pat Rushin and set in the laboratory of madcap scientist and “entity-cruncher” Christoph Waltz.

There are many entities to be crunched, most of them capital-initialled. They include Management (Matt Damon), The Machine (a giant computer), Life, Death and Truth. Tilda Swinton, currently ubiquitous, does a turn as a black-wigged, snaggle-toothed, rap-chanting Scottish analyst. Long before the end, you want to kill all the characters on screen if only to resurrect them as normal human beings. Even that wouldn’t take care of the wit-free script and fey excesses of phantasmagoria.

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Nigel Andrews


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