Since creating the dystopian classic Brazil in 1985, Terry Gilliam has directed just eight more features—a disappointing total for such a feverish imagination. And those films have frequently been half-cocked or messed up, as though damaged in transit. His newest is signature Gilliam: visually exuberant and robustly cynical, it shows the director still circling the big ideas he’s been nursing since his Monty Python days.
Pat Rushin’s futuristic script is draped around the defeated shoulders of a worker drone named Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz). Convinced he is dying, he pesters his manager (David Thewlis) to be allowed to work—Qohen inputs “entities” into a fearsomely complicated database—at home.