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Twelve Monkeys
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Twelve Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys is a science fiction conspiracy theory movie directed by former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam and inspired by the short film La Jetée;. It deals with problems of time and memory, and features a memorable performance by Brad Pitt as a seriously deranged animal liberationist.

Warning: Plot details follow.

Bruce Willis stars as James Cole, who believes he has been sent to our time from a future in which apocalyptic events (initiated by a group calling itself the Army of the Twelve Monkeys) have killed 90% of humanity and forced the survivors into a bleak subterranean existence; his mission is to study the events leading up to the apocalypse. Alternatively Cole could be just plain insane.

On his arrival back in 1996, Cole is arrested and institutionalised, whereupon he encounters Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt's character) and also meets Dr Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), an expert in insanity related to prophecy. Initially Railly has Cole down as delusional, but as events unfold she begins to take him seriously.

Struggling with his own sanity, Cole, assisted by Railly, strives to unravel the mystery of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. As Railly starts to believe his story, Cole begins to doubt his own knowledge of the future. In the end it transpires that Goines and the Twelve Monkeys were not responsible for the spread of the disease which afflicted mankind but another person altogether...

Table of contents
1 Trivia
2 Technical data
3 External links


Towards the end of Twelve Monkeys there is a scene set in a movie theater. The film seen playing in the background of these shots is Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, and the scene that appears is that of Scottie and Madeleine in Big Basin Redwoods State Park where Madeleine looks at the growth rings of a felled giant redwood and traces back events in her past life as Carlotta Valdez ("here I was born... and here I died"). As well as obviously resonating with larger themes in Twelve Monkeys, this scene can also be considered Gilliam's tip of the hat to Chris Marker, whose La Jetée; inspired Twelve Monkeys. La Jetée features images of tree rings in several museum scenes, and the connection between La Jetée and the scene from Vertigo is also observed explicitly by Marker in his 1982 documentary montage Sans Soleil.

A "making of" documentary about the film, The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, was made by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe.

Technical data

External links