The Zero Theorem (A J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 18, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“The Zero Theorem” is a fascinating sci-fi film that takes a look at the decay of society. Complex but yet entertaining, “The Zero Theorem” is a wonderful film for Gilliam fans but also cinema fans wanting something unique. Recommended!
TITLE: The Zero Theorem
YEAR OF FILM: 2013
DURATION: 111 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Closed Captions
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: R (For Language and Some Sexuality/Nudity)
RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2015
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Screenplay by Pat Rushin
Executive Producer: Ana Aizenberg, Diego Guebel, Mario Pergolini
Produced by Lita Stantic
Co-Producer: Jose Maria Morales
Line Producer: Marta Parga
Cinematography by Hugo Colace
Edited by Santiago Ricci
Casting by Florencia Blanco, Martin Mainoli, Luciana Rico, Natalia Smirnoff
Production & Art Direction by Graciela Oderingo
Set Decoration by Cristina Nigro
Costume Design by Carlo Poggioli
Christoph Waltz as Qohen Leth
David Thewlis as Joby
Melanie Thierry as Bainsley
Matt Damon as Management
Lucas Hedges as Bob
Tilda Swinton as Dr. Shrink-Rom
Qohen Leth (2-time Academy Award© winner Christoph Waltz) is a computer genius plagued with existential angst. Eccentric and reclusive, he lives in a burnt-out church, toiling on a top-secret project personally assigned by Management (Matt Damon) to discover the meaning of life. If there is one. Witness a vision of the techno-philosophical future from Terry Gilliam, the visionary director of BRAZIL, 12 MONKEYS, and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, also starring Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis, and Melanie Thierry.
From Terry Gilliam (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, “Time Bandits”, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “Brazil”, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”) comes a sci-film titled “The Zero Theorem”.
The film stars Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”, “Carnage”, “Water for Elephants”), Melanie Thierry (“Babylon A.D.”, “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch”, “The Princess of Montpensier”), Lucas Hedges (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Labor Day”, “Kill the Messenger”), David Thewlis (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Seven Years in Tibet”), Matt Damon (“The Bourne Identity” films”, “Good Will Hunting”, “The Departed”) and Tilda Swinton (“Adaptation.”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”).
Some have called the film the final part of the “Brazil” trilogy (with the second film being “12 Monkeys”). And now “The Zero Theorem” will be released on Blu-ray in January 2015.
“The Zero Theorem” revolves around a programmer named Qohen Leth (portrayed by Christoph Waltz). His job is to crunch entities for a company known as Mancom.
But life for Qohen is not simple. He suffers from existential angst and with so much of his life worrying about the value of life and the existence of life, it has led him staying inside his lab and often waiting for a phone call which he hopes will bring him the answers that he has been seeking.
As Qohen has received psychiatric evaluations, doctors see him as normal and healthy. But management thinks he is insane.
One day at a corporate party at Mancom, he nearly chokes on an olive and is rescued by a bubbly and beautiful woman named Bainsley (portrayed by Melanie Thierry).
As Qohen tries to work at home, he is introduced to a massive supercomputer known as “The Neural Net Mancive” which contains all entities crunched by workers. And Qohen’s job is to solve “The Zero Theorem”, a mysterious mathematical formula.
As he sees an AI therapist named Dr. Shrink-ROM (portrayed by Tilda Swinton), she starts to notice that he may suffer from various conditions. Meanwhile, Qohen starts to have nightmares of a black hole.
Frustrated with his work, Qohen smashes his computer with a hammer but all of a sudden, he is greeted by Bainsley but also the manager’s son, Bob (portrayed by Lucas Hedges).
And Qohen begins to interact with both of them.
“The Zero Theorem” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:75:1 aspect ratio). It’s important to note that the film was shot with a lower budget considering it’s a sci-fi film. Shot on film, the film features vibrant colors. The film features amazing detail during closeups.
I did not see any major banding or artifact issues during my viewing of the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, “The Zero Theorem” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The film is primarily driven by the film’s environments and thus the ambiance can be heard through the surround channels. Dialogue and George Fenton’s musical score are crystal clear and while not a immersive soundtrack, the soundtrack does sound very good!
“The Zero Theorem” comes with the following special features:
- Behind the Scenes – (18:29) Terry Gilliam and the cast talk about working on the film and working with each other.
- The Visual Effects – (6:39) A featurette about the visual effects of “The Zero Theorem”.
- The Zero Theorem: Costumes – (28:39) A featurette about the costumes on “The Zero Theorem” and working with Carlo Poggioli.
- The Zero Theorem: The Sets – (18:10) A featurette about the set and interviews Terry Gilliam, the executive producer and production designer David Warren about shooting in Bucharest.
- Trailer – (29:19) The Screen Guild Theater radio athnology series broadcasted on March 15, 1943 featuring Claudette Colbert, Randolph Scott and Rudy Vallee.
“The Zero Theorem” comes with a slipcover.
For those familiar with Terry Gilliam’s oeuvre, he has managed to create a new world but also taking on various themes.
In the case of “The Zero Theorem”, the film revolves around a man who becomes unattached to society due to the increasing involvement of technology and how it permeates society, through ads and everywhere else.
For its primary character, Qohen represents a man who wants to know the meaning of life when everyone is literally dehumanized and connected to technology. He’s lost, frustrated and literally disenchanted with society and he suffers from the ultimately feeling that he is alone.
Of course, because he is “different”, he is seen as a problem.
In many ways, the film is about the decay of society and because of its complexity, some may want to watch the film multiple times and may discover something different each time while they are watching. It’s how I felt about “Brazil” and many of Terry Gilliam’s films, but it’s part of why I appreciate his films, because nothing is force fed. Nothing is simple.
The film features a wonderful performance by Christoph Waltz and you also get a few appearances not just by Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton, but also other talents who briefly appear (keep your eyes on the commercials and the doctors).
The Blu-ray features vibrant colors and looks very good in HD, while the lossless soundtrack is appropriate and not too immersive but features crystal clear dialogue and music. You also get a few special features that go into the making of “The Zero Theorem”.
Overall, Terry Gilliam films are always films that I appreciate. There are not many directors that force me to rewatch a film several times but in the case of “The Zero Theore” and other Gilliam films, I discover something new each time, but also see his message much more clearly.
“The Zero Theorem” is a fascinating sci-fi film that takes a look at the decay of society. Complex but yet entertaining, “The Zero Theorem” is a wonderful film for Gilliam fans but also cinema fans wanting something unique.
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