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Brazil This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I’d like to say the story ends well, that the guy gets the girl and they run off after defeating the tyrannical rule of seemingly superior technology, fused with the ignorance of those on top of the demented pyramid of authority. But in all honesty, I don’t exactly know how to characterize the ending. Or, for that matter, the rest of the movie.

By no means recent, this film, made in 1985 (and one of the earliest major successes of Terry Gilliam’s prolific directing career) would appear rather unfortunately obscure for the typical teenager.

And its obscurity is exceedingly unfortunate, since the convoluted and surreal plotline of “Brazil” is as richly textured as any great novel, weaving through its web of confusion a mixture of dark farce, observations about the state of Western culture, piteously wishful dream realities in which our reluctant hero battles mysterious giant samurai, and a nightmarish future pocked by unnecessary bloodshed and a pointedly blind eye to the perpetuating horror.

At times hard to stomach, the movie nonetheless is a treat for the eye, the mind, and at brief, sparkling moments, the heart, as Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) falls through a succession of blackly humorous horrors, stretching from the mundane reality of his dead-end job to the heartwrenching moments with the sweetheart of his dreams.

But through all the horror, the stupidity, ignorance, and cruel indifference of its characters, it remains a comedy, and viewers who stay mostly un-traumatized will find themselves giggling one moment, sobbing, moaning the next, and then falling into a fit of hysterics.

Though dystopic, Gilliam’s future remains a farce almost parallel to the foibles of our reality, whether it’s the 1980s or 2007, in which the trivial stupidity innately woven through our culture shines through, exaggerated a hundred times over but still simultaneously hilarious and profound.

This reality encompasses incompetent repairmen who destroy what’s been fixed, women who get excess skin lopped or peeled off to look younger, and official torturers who bring their daughters to work with them.

All in all, the movie is a masterpiece of our time, beautifully crafted, seamlessly flowing through the increasingly mad and maddening situations of this eerily predictable culture.

I’d like to say the story ends well, but - just a hint - however brilliant and beautiful “Brazil” may be, it doesn’t make a good bedtime story


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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