And Now For Something Completely Different: The Zero Theorem 

Now playing at The Flicks

The first and last thing you need to know about Zero Theorem is that it's the latest film from the madness that is Terry Gilliam, who hovers somewhere between genius (Brazil, 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King) and incomprehension (Tideland, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus). Gilliam is also famous for being the only non-Brit member of the quite-English Monty Python's Flying Circus.

If you were to ask me what Zero Theorem is about, my Pythonesque answer would be: It's about 100 minutes. I will say that the movie is a fantastical examination of existential angst, but don't let that scare you away from one of Gilliam's better efforts.

Zero Theorem opens with a naked and bald Qohen Leth sitting in front of a series of computers in a steampunk-inspired home where he "crunches entities"... every minute of every day of every year. Qohen's ultimate motivation is to receive an elusive phone call that may never come. To that end, the story from screenwriter Pat Rushin has more than a little in common with Waiting for Godot, though Rushin says his inspiration was the Book of Ecclesiastes, which asks the faithful to ponder, "What is the meaning of life?"

Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz brings his trademark hyper-energy to the role of Qohen (Billy Bob Thornton and Ewan McGregor were previously attached to the project, but it's hard to imagine anyone other than Waltz in this fantastical film). Also in the cast are the delicious Melanie Thierry, who lights up the screen as Bainsley, Qohen's temptress and savior; Tilda Swinton as a virtual therapist; and even Matt Damon as an all-powerful profiteer, known only as Management.

Zero Theorem probably won't pull in a mass audience, but it's smart, gorgeous and bends more than a few conventions; it's it well worth seeing.

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The Zero Theorem
Rated R · 107 minutes · 2014
Director: Terry Gilliam
Producer: Nicolas Chartier, Chris Curling, Zev Foreman, Phil Robertson and Patrick Newall
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Naomi Everson and Madison Lygo
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