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12 Monkeys

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Nov. 15th 2005

12 Monkey's, directed by Terry Gilliam, stars Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt. This movie is a wonderful science fiction film wrapped around time travel. The theme of the movie has to do with society's perception of insanity. Throughout the film the viewer is plagued with questions of whether or not the main character, James Cole (Bruce Willis) is actually from the future or perhaps is just insane and suffering from delusions. This theme is thrown in with an amazing plot of time travel.

The beginning of the movie starts off with James as a boy and he witnesses a man get shot to death in an airport. Throughout the movie James re-lives this experience over and over in his dreams. We then move to the present where James is in an underground prison and is selected to travel back in time and gather information on a virus that was unleashed when he was just a little boy. The virus killed over 6 billion people and only 1% of the worlds population survived underground. He's sent back to try and find out about the army of the twelve monkeys, which is supposedly the organization that released the virus, but ends up in 1990 instead of the target time, 1996. Cole is put into a mental hospital where he meets a psychiatrist named Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe). He also meets one of the patients, Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), who we later discover to be the leader of the twelve monkeys. He's then correctly sent to 1996 where he again meets Dr. Railly and starts to find information about the army of the twelve monkeys while being pursued by the police for kidnapping her. Kathryn starts to tell him that he's only having delusions and that all of this is not real. James begins to actually believe this himself and tells her he wants to turn himself in so he can get better. But it's at this point she discovers he was actually telling the truth and she quickly tries to tell him he's right and they have to find out what the army of the twelve monkeys is. They quickly realise that the army of the twelve monkeys actually has nothing to do with the virus and they find out who actually has it. Cole calls a voice mail service, which contacts the scientists in the future, and tells them it had nothing to do with the twelve monkeys. They send back one of Cole's friends who gives him a gun. James then spots the man with the virus and runs through the metal detector, drawing his gun. As he points it at the virus carrier James is shot in the back by police officers. We then see a little boy standing near him watching in horror as he sees his older self get shot down. The man with the virus escapes but on the plane we see the scientist from the future sitting next to him.

Personally I loved this movie. My favorite character would have to be Jeffrey Goines. Brad Pitt did an amazing job playing the role. More amazing than I would have expected from him. Not only Brad Pitt did a remarkable job but all the rest of the actors were also very convincing. Bruce Willis was definitely the most convincing of them all. He really played his character well. I didn't see one bad thing about the acting. It was all very believable and real. Gilliam really did a good job directing this movie. Every detail was well done. My favorite scene would have to be when Goines is helping Cole escape from the mental institution. When he's jumping around yelling and all the mental patients are screaming and yelling. It was quite humorous. The music was good and perfectly reflected the atmosphere. I didn't even realise there was music, and completely forgot to pay attention to it because it was so well implemented. After a second viewing I realised this and they really did use the music perfectly. You'd have that creepy kind of music in creepy situations and then whenever there would be something about the army of the twelve monkeys there would be this circus music. It was all very well done.

This movie is mainly about time travel and the problems it faces, but the film also brings up a very interested question. How do we judge who's insane and who is not? Towards the end of the movie the film suggests that James Cole is in fact sane but throughout the movie we're forced to wonder whether he's crazy. Like the strange voice he keeps hearing over and over. At different times during to movie Cole hears this voice. We never do find out who it is. This must have been put into the movie to emphasize that Cole isn't necessarily sane, and to make the viewers wonder about this. Cole even gets put into a mental institution. With this example we can began to wonder that if a sane person could mistakenly be put into a mental institution simply because their frame of mind is so much different than what's expected, then maybe people who are considered insane aren't that insane after all. Perhaps their minds are just so much more different or advanced they don't function the same as the average person.

This movie has a wonderful approach towards time travel. In the beginning Cole repeats more than once that changing the past is not what he's trying to do because the past has already happened so any attempts to change it would fail.

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