Directed by Terry Gilliam
Brazil is a 1985 dystopic black comedy that presents an alternate view of the near future from that of George Orwell’s 1984. This film is a bit more artsy and relies heavily on the imagination of the audience to rationalize much of the confused plot.
The hero of this story is Sam, a man with vivid dreams but is employed in a dead end job with the monolithic government. While much of his work is monotonous, Sam becomes involved in a fiasco where the government mistakenly arrested and charged the wrong man with a crime. While investigating, Sam catches a glimpse of, quite literally, the woman of his dreams and spends a great deal of time chasing after her.
While the film does mirror 1984 in many regards, its use of satire is the separating factor. While 1984 illustrated the dangers of a totalitarian government, Brazil exemplified its inefficiency through such scenes as having individuals go back and forth between the various Ministries (agencies) to get marks on their paperwork to make it authorized. In many ways, this is also a commentary on the inefficiency of many governmental agencies today.
Since this is an artsy film, it's automatically open to some interpretation; however, the characters in this film are so difficult to follow, that one may wonder if characters are even real at times and, more importantly, what is going on. The film also causes the audience to question Sam’s sanity throughout, as many of the characters act without logic.
This is not to say that this is a bad film in all regards. Technically, this film is great, employing the most impressive locations and effects available at the time. Effects and such had a much greater effect on the film prior to the turn of the century, because the technology simply did not exist to produce visually amazing films, such as The Matrix. If the characters were able to be better followed, the audience would feel the effect from the acting a bit more.
All things considered, Brazil is an artsy film that features a great deal of ambiguity, hence its cult status. It's just unfortunate that much of the plot seems like an afterthought.