The Zero Theorem Review

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Replete with a retro looking, pseudo-industrial aesthetic, an angst driven schizo protagonist’,The Zero Theormen’ may disappoint all but the most die-hard Gilliam faithful. By the Director’s own admission, this film is a look at the future that may have already passed us by. The loose and jumbled references to a theorem that will prove every nihilist correct is as elusive as it has ever been. Gilliam seems to be underscoring the fact that we are, in our organized chaos, engaging in a futile exercise searching for something that might approximate an all encompassing theory to explain everything. The definitive message, if there is one, is that meaning may only be found in the intimacy of relationships. Unfortunately, these now suffer at the invasive hands of our cell phones and every other computer driven device that incessantly inform our consciousness. Set in a time in the near-future, one proselytizing advert calls us to the Church of Batman the Redeemer. The main action takes place in a dilapidated and former church which serves as our Protagonist’s domicile — traditional religion has been eclipsed by Marvel Comics.

Our protagonist Qohen Leth (Christophe Waltz), a sort of wiz theorem processor, works for an Orwellian boss simply called the Management (Matt Damon). His work, not surprisingly, resembles a sophisticated multi-level computer game that you might find at any teen’s fingertips. Qohen works through the drudgery of “another day” patiently waiting for a phone call to explain the meaning of life — one of the many existentialist and retro ideas in the film — as he works on the secretive zero theorem for Management. Enter Bainsley (Melanie Thierry), a more than fetching sex kitten whose methods employ a mantric cyber penetration only, sent by Management to keep Quoen from leaping off a cliff. To add to the confusion, Qohen is also seeing an on-line rapping psychiatrist (a brilliant turn from Tilda Swinton) aptly named Dr Shrink-Rom. Amidst the chaos in the script, a redeeming love story between Qohen and Bainsley emerges, unrequited and somewhat tragic, it actually holds the film together with a melancholic and hopeful tip of the hat to the human spirit.

There is also a remarkably funny and symbolic scene in the meandering narrative where Managment’s son Bob (Lucas Hedges), also a wizzy processor working on the zero theorem, is sitting on a park bench with Qohen, contemplating their fates. In the background is a pastiche of dozens of Not Allowed signs on a grid that range from No Smoking, No Dog Walking, No Roller Blading, No Eating to No Holding Hands — actual living has been sterilized. In the same vain, Qohen attends a party where everyone is independently listening to their iPods with headphones while the house music is blaring. Qohen as the outsider, a bald and hairless unlikely hero (he doesn’t have a swagger either) rails against this de-humanized brave new world and dreams of a place on a beach where there is a simple sunset.

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The Zero Theorem Review

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