The Zero Theorem

Film Review by Nathanael Smith | 27 Feb 2014
Film title: The Zero Theorem
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Mélanie Thierry
Release date: 14 Mar
Certificate: 15

In the vein of Spike Jonze’s Her, Terry Gilliam’s latest sci-fi, like all the best films in that genre, puts humanity under a microscope lens and searches for its meaning in the modern world. In an increasingly digital society where what we see on our screens steadily replaces reality, the questions of what it means to be human and how we connect with others become ever more urgent. Gilliam’s magnifying glass, however, is far grimier than the slickness of Jonze’s Apple store world; his conclusions are, too.

The Zero Theorem is covered in the director’s hallmarks, from dilapidated and derelict cities, to banal bureaucratic figures, to chunky technology that whirrs and bleeps like the makeshift sci-fi of 80s Doctor Who. It’s a visual marvel: a low-fi, old school dystopia that nevertheless feels both contemporary and worryingly prescient. In an advert that plays near the beginning of the film, a talking head informs us that “the future has come and gone. Where were you?” The questions this film wrestles with, Gilliam is suggesting, are not just for the characters of the film but for everyone watching. The future is here: where are you? [Nathanael Smith]

27 Feb, GFT 1, 8.30pm

28 Feb, GFT 2, 11.15