FBMR - 12 Monkeys
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

12 MONKEYS (1995) ***1/2

Terry Gilliam has managed to make yet another strange film. A couple of years ahead of its time, this movie might be considered a trendsetter for such films as THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR, THE MATRIX, and eXistenZ, where questioning what’s real and what’s not is a big issue. Unlike these three more recent films, 12 MONKEYS relies on time travel rather than virtual reality.

In the year 2035, most of the population of the Earth is confined to living underground thanks to a devastating virus that wiped out 99% of the human population in 1996. James Cole (Bruce Willis), a convict, “volunteers” to be sent back in time to gather information about the spreading of the disease. Unfortunately, the time machine has a few snags and sends him to a couple of wrong years before they eventually get him to 1996, before the outbreak of the virus. While in the year 1990, he gets sent to an insane asylum and meets Dr. Katherine Railly (Madeleine Stowe) who becomes intrigued with Cole and his “story”. Eventually, Cole, himself, questions his own sanity and the question about which time period is real is explored.

If it sounds a little confusing, you’re right, it is. But after having seen newer films that deal with a similar subject, it becomes easier to follow. It’s also very important to pay close attention to everything that goes on because it’s all crucial to the development of the story.

IMDb - 12 Monkeys