Like all of Gilliam’s most adored works (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys), The Zero Theorem has an extraordinary emphasis on its rainbow coloured visual style and an even greater enthusiasm for all its surrealistic, otherworldly qualities. Gilliam, with his previous works, has created somewhat of a fantasy world for himself, a unique style that can only be associated with his own creative mind. It’s a style that is not easy to enjoy, but rather straightforward to appreciate for all Gilliam’s inspired attitude towards his work.
Zero Theorem is perhaps Gilliam’s most emphatic, developed work since the masterful Brazil of 1985. Here Gilliam explores the possibility of discovering the meaning of life, all represented by its primary focus on the different realms of connection the internet provides to us and when life is no longer that. It analyses the unique journey of its computer genius who has been tasked with the mission of completing the zero theorem, a near impossible formula which will decipher the meaning of life upon completion. It’s a creative premise, but perhaps what is most surprising is how simple it is portrayed to be. Gilliam, despite utilising a never-ending stream of colours, keeps the film flowing perfectly. He advances the premise, constantly contemplating and hinting at the reason for life, but he never tries to be too clever. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain elements he includes that aren’t as easy to decipher as others, but I guess that’s what keeps Zero Theorem the imaginative and intriguing film it is.
Christoph Waltz, as usual, will take all the plaudits. His depiction of his isolated figure is definitive. Waltz emphasises the impact on his character’s health – the zero theorem is taking its toll – with a divine range of emotions, most present in his effect is Waltz use of facial emotions and his relatively disturbing body language. He also delivers his dialogue with a constant array of intrigue and dedicated focus – his emphatic use of “we” as opposed to “I” notable” – ensures he will be odds on to be nominated again this year.