• Studio:
  • Release Date: Sep 19, 2014
Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 24
  2. Negative: 5 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Philip Kemp
    Mar 10, 2014
    80
    The future as candy-coloured paranoid nightmare: not quite Gilliam’s best, but still the most satisfying movie he’s made for years.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Mar 10, 2014
    80
    It’s the tangle of workings-out not the easy answer that are the proof of a theorem, and that magnificent, sparkling, insightful chaos abounds here.
  3. Reviewed by: Mary Corliss
    Sep 16, 2013
    70
    The Zero Theorem is a spectacle that demands to be cherished — as long as the society Gilliam portrays is a satire, not a prophesy.
  4. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Sep 16, 2013
    67
    There’s much to like, from Waltz’s performance to the typically rich production and costume design.
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Sep 19, 2014
    63
    No matter how feverishly Gilliam directs and no matter how enthusiastically his actors act, the whole thing remains too, er, theoretical.
  6. 63
    Like “Brazil” and “Twelve Monkeys,” it’s about human connections in a technologically warped world rendered lonely and unlivable by the lack of those connections.
  7. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jul 31, 2014
    63
    At once cluttered and cavernous, hysterical and static, romantic and cynical, The Zero Theorem works most effectively moment by moment and in the details.
  8. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 18, 2014
    60
    Even as Mr. Gilliam assails the tedium and pointlessness of Qohen’s existence, The Zero Theorem succumbs to those forces, spinning its wheels and repeating its jokes in a manic frenzy that is never as funny or as mind-blowing as it wants to be.
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 18, 2014
    60
    This all feels like an homage to Gilliam’s “Brazil,” though Zero Theorem also has shadows of “12 Monkeys” and other films in the onetime Monty Python animator’s cinematic carnival.
  10. Reviewed by: John Bleasdale
    Sep 16, 2014
    60
    All of Gilliam's little details are fun and there are some laugh-out-loud lines, but the actual story itself is never compelling and simply doesn't zip as it should.
  11. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Sep 15, 2014
    60
    All this leaves The Zero Theorem looking both disorderly and stuck. And yet, to my surprise, on returning for a second viewing I found myself moved by the film — by the very doggedness with which it both hunts for and despairs of meaning.
  12. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Aug 25, 2014
    60
    It isn’t just that Gilliam’s ragged, wild style is easily recognizable after nearly four decades of feature films, it’s a sense that Zero Theorem recycles its tone, visual design, and plot points directly from his past work.
  13. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Sep 16, 2013
    60
    It’s anarchic, sometimes amusing, intermittently tedious, with ideas about digital alienation and the corruption of technology that too often feel blunt and tired.
  14. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Sep 16, 2013
    60
    The film has a ragged charm, a Tiggerish bounce, and a certain sweet melancholy that bubbles up near the end.
  15. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Sep 16, 2014
    50
    Too bad the story tucked around all that production design is such a futuristic drag.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Sep 17, 2014
    42
    If only this imaginative environment were populated with a single compelling character or stimulating idea, rather than serving as busy distraction from the narrative tedium.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 19, 2014
    40
    As a collective thing, though, those moments add up to a messy, all-over-the-map movie that toys with big, existential thoughts, but it doesn't have a coherent enough story with which to drive them home.
  18. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Sep 16, 2013
    40
    It doesn’t really add up to much, beyond a timely reminder that it would be better for everyone to stop uploading and downloading and just unplug and be human.
  19. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Sep 16, 2013
    40
    Raucous but fatally confused, openly pilfering its central themes from Gilliam’s own 1985 masterpiece Brazil, but with no idea how to develop them.
  20. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Sep 18, 2014
    38
    Another project whose narrative gets swallowed by its design.
  21. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Sep 13, 2014
    38
    Terry Gilliam has imposed a mix tape of his greatest hits, whose greatness was debatable to begin with, on a whiff of a story that might've flourished under the maxim "less is more."
  22. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Sep 18, 2014
    37
    The Zero Theorem doesn’t fully earn the elaborately conceived scaffolding on which its relatively tame ideas are hoisted.
  23. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Sep 16, 2013
    30
    A sci-fi confection that, at best, momentarily recalls the dystopian whimsy of the director’s best-loved effort, “Brazil,” but ends up dissolving into a muddle of unfunny jokes and half-baked ideas, all served up with that painful, herky-jerky Gilliam rhythm.
  24. Reviewed by: Michael Ordona
    Sep 18, 2014
    25
    Zero is more of an intellectual exercise in which you’re never given all the variables to solve the problem — and then you find your calculator was on acid the whole time anyway.

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