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Brazil (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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In the dystopic masterpiece Brazil, Jonathan Pryce (Glengarry Glen Ross) plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy. This cautionary tale by Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), one of the great films of the 1980s, now ranks alongside antitotalitarian works by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And in terms of set design, cinematography, music, and effects, Brazil, a nonstop dazzler, stands alone.
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Top Customer Reviews
It looks fantastic and at 142 min. is 10 minutes longer than the Universal version. My main complaint is the sound; like most DTS soundtracks, when the volume is turned up to a comfortable volume for dialogue, inevitably you come to an action sequence that blasts you out of your chair, forcing you to turn the volume back down until the next sequence of dialogue. However in 5.1 surround, you can generally have the center channel set higher to even things out. Unfortunately the Criterion version of Brazil merely remasters the stereo soundtrack of the original film into DTS 2.0 (Stereo) which divides the dialogue, music and sound effects between your right and left channels only. I was constantly turning my volume down during explosions, etc. only to turn it up again when the characters were speaking.
Looking at the specs of the Universal edition I see that the soundtrack is DTS 5.1; I wish the Criterion edition would've at least given us that option.
It remains a great film and I'm glad to have it for the Gilliam approved "Director's cut" with all the extras, but if I found a cheap copy of the Universal version, I'd be tempted to get it just to compare the soundtrack quality.
I got the movie from the very start to the end and still to this day people ask me what it was all about, I was even given the Nick name of BRAZIL and I would tell all it is just a State of Mind.....
Strange Weird and out of mind experience I LOVE IT
BRAZIL is one of Terry Gilliam's finest films, and one whose social significance is perhaps more relevant now than ever before in an age where information and accessibility have taken such a prevalent role in our daily lives. Many of the darker themes involving the government's oppression of its people are broken up by Gilliam's light-hearted humor. We take great joy in laughing at the absurdity on screen, while recognizing that BRAZIL is as much a black comedy as it is a sad reflection of our own bitter reality. The talented cast is led by Jonathan Pryce as our reluctant hero, Sam, who is thrust into a world of political upheaval despite all of his efforts to remain unnoticed. Pryce is wonderful in the role, as he is able to point out the lunacy of all that surrounds him with a range of frustrated looks and snide remarks. He is joined by Robert De Niro and Katherine Helmond in leading roles, with brilliant appearances by Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Richardson as government busybodies who try desperately to uphold a system that is falling apart around them. The incredible production design imagines a future in which the technology has become terribly outdated, where tiny computer screens are viewed through gigantic magnifying glasses and ugly metal ducts protrude from every building in the name of "efficiency." It is no wonder that Sam chooses to dream of the open country when he is locked inside the cold, cement prison walls of the city.
Bleak and depressing, yet utterly entertaining at the same time, Terry Gilliam captures the perils of a not-too-distant future with clever wit and satire. BRAZIL is essential viewing for any film fan, and a unique experience that is unlike any other.
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