Fantastic box office bombs that deserve a second chance


Terry Gilliam’s work was never popular, so the famed eccentric author’s filmography could fill a whole list of ambitious fantasy films that fell apart on their own. But while “Time Bandits”, “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”, “Tideland” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” all belong here, none of Gilliam’s other films have the legacy of “Brazil.”

The dark and funny dystopia with Jonathan Pryce is, above all, perfectly conceived and executed. A loose adaptation of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” mixed with elements of Kafka and absurdity, “Brazil” is a scathing critique of a totalitarian dictatorship plagued by inefficiencies. Like most of Gilliam’s films, her visuals are delightfully wacky and memorable.

Among his most famous fantasy sequences are Pryce’s Sam Lowry dreams of flying around town. They’re striking and romantic, both of which are broad descriptors that could be generously applied to most sections of this cult favorite. Of course, a film as original as “Brazil” was doomed to fail, but thankfully it has no less than two different cuts on a pristine version of Criterion Collection to help ensure its legacy lives on.


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