Movie House Memories

Brazil (1985)

Episode #63

Universal Pictures released Brazil to theaters on December 18, 1985. Terry Gilliam directs the film which stars Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, and Robert De Niro.

Brazil Movie Summary

The lowly and passive government employee, Sam Lowry, living in a dystopian future, descends deeper and deeper into insanity as he tries to balance his existence among two worlds; a real world of oppression run by a bureaucratic and totalitarian government, and a fantasy world of dreams where he flies across the land; fighting to save a damsel in distress against the aforementioned totalitarian government. These two worlds merge into one, and Sam’s insanity becomes our own.

Our Christmas tale begins with a governmental error to a file that causes the innocent Archibald Buttle to be mislabeled a terrorist and killed by the government instead of freelance heating engineer Archibald Tuttle. Realizing the error, the government refunds Buttle’s widow the money it charged Archibald for the costs incurred from his torture. Sam is sent to deliver the check since the family doesn’t have a bank account they can direct deposit the check into.

Once there, Sam is rejected by Buttle’s widow, and accosted by his young son. In Sam’s hysteria from losing control of the situation, he suddenly catches a glimpse of the always-in-control Jill Layton in a reflection in a broken mirror. Like an angel from above, Jill peers down through a hole in the Buttle’s ceiling. Not only does Jill look exactly like Sam’s damsel in distress in his dreams, but she lives the rebellious life that Sam can only dream of, and acts without the fear of the consequences of her actions that Sam can only dream of. Is Jill real? Is she Sam’s alter ego taking control of him à la Fight Club? It’s hard to say, but from here on out, Sam’s destiny is forever out of his control.

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Universal Pictures released Brazil to theaters on December 18, 1985. Terry Gilliam directs the film which stars Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, and Robert De Niro.

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