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The Zero Theorem is a spectacle that demands to be cherished - as long as the society Gilliam portrays is a satire, not a prophesy.
The culture's caught up to Gilliam. Everybody's doing Orwell now. But Gilliam's appropriation feels both aptly skeptical and unfashionably utopian.
New York Post:
Director Terry Gilliam's nearly 20-year streak of bad movies remains unbroken with "The Zero Theorem," yet another project whose narrative gets swallowed by its design.
Ends up dissolving into a muddle of unfunny jokes and half-baked ideas, all served up with that painful, herky-jerky Gilliam rhythm.
If only this imaginative environment were populated with a single compelling character or stimulating idea, rather than serving as busy distraction from the narrative tedium.
It's bursting with Gilliam's trademark manic energy, but the focus and execution are so soft that that energy ends up derailing the film instead of invigorating it.
This cartoonish sci-fi satire might be described as Terry Gilliam's Mr. Arkadin-a visually inspired but frequently confounding (and clearly underfinanced) reworking of longtime personal themes.
Gilliam's penchant for overstimulation can numb your visual cortex, but Theorem is still the best thing he's pulled out of that bag in a while.
Gives one the sense that the ex-Monty Python-ite thinks he's at a filmmaker version of the Last Chance Saloon, manufacturing and recycling as fast as he can.
There is something so generous and so full-hearted in this profusion that to complain seems churlish, but "The Zero Theorem" has a bothersome ratio of misses to hits.
I'm not quite sure I have a handle on what Terry Gilliam is trying to say in "The Zero Theorem." I'm not sure he does, either.
For the most part, Gilliam's visual eye drowns out his actor's performances, and in this case the effect is marred by a distinct familiarity to his imagined world.
New York Daily News:
If you're inclined to fall into Terry Gilliam's heady fantasias, this eye-catching entry won't disappoint. But the movie may leave a feeling of vague dissatisfaction.
San Francisco Chronicle:
An intellectual exercise in which you're never given all the variables to solve the problem - and then you find your calculator was on acid the whole time anyway.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Maybe "The Zero Theorem" doesn't add up to much on paper, but, particularly for Gilliam fans, it's infinitely watchable.
Globe and Mail:
At once cluttered and cavernous, hysterical and static, romantic and cynical, The Zero Theorem works most effectively moment by moment and in the details.
As usual with Gilliam's films, the production is more delightful to behold than to parse.
Full of Gilliam's stylistic hallmarks - layered realities, overbearing technology, institutional paranoia and of course, quirky romance - it feels like a personal journey into his beliefs, as it stares into the divide between reason and faith.
A lo-fi, future-tech farce with an air of high-end cyber panto.
Too bad the story tucked around all that production design is such a futuristic drag.
"The Zero Theorem" doesn't fully earn the elaborately conceived scaffolding on which its relatively tame ideas are hoisted. Cosmic existential despair feels too well-plumbed a cinematic subject to seem new or genuinely daring.