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A Review & Analysis Brazil

Brazil: A Wonderful tale of a Real Nightmare

When I first watched Brazil, I couldn't understand why there was so much interest in the movie. I researched it online and found that people seemed to think it was a great movie and on forums some people thought it was their favorite one. Now, even though that was the case I still took it with a grain of salt because usually people have bad taste regardless.

So when I watched it and the movie was over I remember thinking that it was a good movie, but by no means a great movie. The story is somewhat weak, the pace is actually quite slow at times and there are a lot of scenes that just seemed effusive and unnecessary in grand scheme of the whole movie. And after watching it again that notion is certainly reconfirmed - many of the dream sequences and nearly all the scenes that involve his mother are completely skippable. I find them nearly un-watchable, in fact, as it almost completely slows the movie to a crawl and takes the audience away from the central and most interesting part of the film, which is how Mr. Sam Lowry reacts and interacts, and introduces the strange world of Brazil to us.

But all of that is almost a side point. In fact the movie is so much more than these plot points, directorial or editorial mistakes, or pacing errors.

The fact of the matter is that Brazil is a masterful idea - the idea realized begins and ends with the theme song which undercoats the entire film. It's this nightmarish innocence, whimsical melody that underlines a truly hellish world that has a complete and absolute lack of freedom.

Comparing this movie to 1984 is an obvious step that most people will make, however without much need for stating the obvious 1984 is a very serious movie. The blatant problems in the way big brother operates are wholly presented to the audience, and it is a horrific presentation indeed.

However Brazil decides to present a similarly dreary future but with an added dose of hyper-realism. When I say hyper-realism I mean it is effusive in its demonstration of the real way in which people CHOOSE to co-exist in such environments, which though present in 1984 goes largely ignored.

1984 presents the world as somewhat of a totalitarian dictatorship but the world of Brazil is not - there is an elite class of people who are not engaged in the government but are driven by greed and vanity. And they are intertwined with the government solely due to their wealth. This is not unlike a normal capitalistic democracy such as the US.

What is highly relevant is the fact that Brazil tries, though not so successfully, to demonstrate the evolution of Sam Lowry from a man who does not see a problem with the system to a man who eventually does have a problem with the system. However, he is not quite the hero because this part of his psyche is never really developed - he is mostly driven by his attraction to his dream woman, and that seems to drive him to rebel.

But unfortunately since his intentions are in no way based in some righteous or idealistic sense it is hard for the audience to get behind him in any really passionate manner. He just suffers as a random consequence of circumstance (had the woman he adored been rich, there would be no conflict).

Then again, the metaphor of the woman being this subtle sense in his mind that the institution that he works for is all the enemies in his dreams, and that she, like freedom, is what he is seeking, provides a more fresh outlook on his motivation. However this is too cryptic throughout the film and therefore cannot be really enjoyed during an actual seating.

What is grandiose about Brazil is that it is completely, absolutely unforgiving in demonstrating the ultimate narcissism of people who need not think about those that suffer, and how brutal a seemingly happy and protective government can be towards its own people. It demonstrates that a large majority of the populace is distracted by pretty lights and vanity while injustices occur on a daily basis, driven, in part, by the vastly grotesque nature of a centralized government.

It simultaneously points out the individual errors of people in society, and how society evolves as a result, and also demonstrates that individuals have the natural need to break free of these trenches.

I believe one of the main things many people forget to take away from the movie is that this movie is extremely serious, despite the unending slapstick nature of it. The jovial nature with which Information Retrieval deals with interrogations whispers just a minute sense of the tortures that await anyone who opposes the centralized government, and the way in which such things are kept pretty, happy, and completely repressed adds to the horror.

Truly educational, if only to press unto people the understanding that they must always know, believe and force the ideal that their governments should fear them, not the other way around.
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