12 Monkeys

In 1995, the science fiction thriller 12 Monkeys was premiered in the U.S, staring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt. I first saw this movie when I was eight, and it freaked the hell out of me. It was one of the first movies that got me to think deeply about exactly what the hell was going on within it, and upon subsequent viewings years apart from each other, I can proudly say that I’m satisfied with the amount that I got from this movie. So when I watched it again the other night, I decided I would do a review of it here on my blog.

The movies starts of with Jacob Cole (Willis) in a cramped prison that reminds you of cattle in small storage. He had apparently been “volunteered” to go collect information from the surface.  We then see that this is a future in which a deadly virus wiped out five billion people and essentially gave the surface back to the animals. The survivors were forced to go deep underground and away from the airborne virus. So Jacob dresses up in an air tight bio-hazard suit and goes up the surface to start collecting bugs and stuff, probably as a way to see how their bodies react to the virus as a means of finding a cure. While stumbling around up there, he finds a sign that reads: “We did it!” with a red logo that says 12 Monkeys. Jacob reports this startling new information to the scientists in the underground city, and they decide to send Jacob through their time machine to 1996, when the virus first took effect, and attempt at retrieving a sample of the virus from the Army of the 12 Monkeys so that he may give it to the scientists in the future to make a cure. Apparently going back in time won’t change the inevitable future, so Jacob can only hope to collect information to help the scientists in the future.

From there on the movie goes into a roller coaster of insanity as Jacob meets a psychiatrist, Kathryn Railly (Stowe), and an apparent lunatic, Jeffrey Goines (Pitt), as he tries to tell what’s real from what’s an insane delusion created by his mind and whether or not five billion people are going to die in 1996. Each event seems to tie into a recurring dream he’s been having for as long as he can remember. Is Jacob simply in insane person from the 1990’s, or is he a savior from the future that may solve the mystery of the virus and the 12 Monkeys?

This movie will have you trying to answer this question from moment Jacob is sent back in time and beaten by cops, to the shocking ending of a great movie.

As you may have already noticed, this movie has a great cast, not only of the leads, but even with some of the supporting cast members, such as Christopher Plummer and David Morse. Each actor does their part to make this a believable and insane universe, and at times the characters truly do look like they belong in an asylum; especially Bruce Willis, who may appear to be the roadside strangler, but at times he feels truly kindhearted and in ecstasy to breath clean air.

On top of a great cast, we get a crew and director that knows how to deliver a good movie. Red herons and clues were delivered perfectly, and it’s not one of those movies that leads you on until the very end and then BAM! Twist. No, this movie handles twists and turns nicely and in a way that truly makes the plot interesting and unpredictable. You also get something new out of every viewing. I’ve probably seen this movie a dozen times, but when I watched this the other night, I still was noticing clues that I hadn’t spotted before, which is always a plus.

Overall, this is truly a great, intelligent movie, and certainly deserves a spot in my canon of greatest movies of all time. Thinking back, this movie was probably on of the catalysts for sending me in the direction of enjoying intellectual, deep movies that can be considered art, alongside Neon Genesis Evangelion. If I had to rate this movie, I’d give it a 9/10, for being so awesome. If you haven’t seen this movie, and you think you’d like something of this type, watch it. If you’re not into this kind of movie, than don’t force yourself through it, because it’s not for everyone. Otherwise, I would like to give kudos to mankind for producing this movie, along with Yotsuba in a HEV Suit.