Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys"


Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys is newly released on Blu-ray in a sparkling Arrow package, which I reviewed for Slant Magazine. This film has aged extremely well, and in retrospect it’s sad that, compounded with The Fisher King, Gilliam didn’t have more room to thrive in the studio system, synthesizing his vision with acquired projects by other writers. Is this his fault (being hidebound to his own unrealized work, like The Defective Detective and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote), or of a system that was rapidly changing, Miramaxification infecting more prestigious work and Jerry Bruckheimer productions hitting a silver stride? 12 Monkeys came out in December 1995, within months of idiosyncratic studio offerings like Seven, Showgirls, Clockers, Get Shorty, Strange Days, To Die For, Casino, Heat, and Nixon, most of which—maybe Casino and Nixon excepted—weren’t geared for salutary awards any more than they were for blockbuster box office earnings. That fall and winter feels like a golden age.