Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 133 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Between sanity and madness, fantasy and reality, the past and the future, comes an adventure beyond imagination from Terry Gilliam, the acclaimed director of "The Fisher King." Penal colony prisoner James Cole (Willis) must travel back in time from the year 2035 to find the cause of a virus that killed five billion people in 1997. (Universal) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 100
    Gilliam, along with the gifted cinematographer Roger Pratt and production designer Jeffrey Beecroft, fashions a disturbing and dazzling lost world.
  2. 100
    Gilliam keeps the audience guessing, and in doing so creates a startlingly effective rumination on the nature of sanity and madness cloaked in the shroud of a sci-fi thriller.
  3. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    One of the qualities that makes "12 Monkeys" so good is the fact that it is almost too complicated to explain.
  4. Reviewed by: Scott Rosenberg
    To Gilliam's quiver of attributes this new movie adds a quality that's on the endangered list in today's Hollywood: coherence.
  5. A grandiose cinematic invention, cleverly turning the present-day urban American world on its ear.
  6. In a movie in which time travel is used to rectify the past, it's too bad scriptwriters David and Janet Peoples didn't go through the time/space tunnel to work on that first draft again.
  7. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Gilliam's work is long on sensibility, short on sense.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Aug 25, 2010
    Since I see most reviews are spot on here, I will simply say "ditto".

    ALSO, another in a long line of my favorite movies that require you to
    THINK! (A lost concept in movie making). IT IS BRILLIANT!!! Expand
  2. Apr 23, 2014
    Ah, I just love a good non-linear film, and 12 Monkeys satisfies that craving to the fullest. Bruce Willis is unsettling and crazy in all the right ways, and Brad Pitt is neurotic in all the best ways. There's no fairytale world in this movie; just a great big messed up fantasy. To decipher what's real, what's fake, what's in the past, what's in the future could take forever, in fact, it might even be impossible. This is the great mystery of this film. Expand
  3. Jan 14, 2011
    This movie is amazing. It leaves your mind in a twist wondering what happened. Great acting by Bruce Willis. Great directing. But the best part is the story line! Truly original. It shows the flaws in time travel very very well! Expand
  4. Jul 2, 2011
    One of my favourite time-travelling based sci-fi movies (Together with "Back to the future" being the funny approach); with a very catching end (a "real" end, considering many actual movie endings which are more like "stop filming, because time is up") Expand
  5. Oct 27, 2012
    A very touching and thought-provoking film surprisingly made by Terry Gilliam, one of the people behind Monty Python. The insight and themes surrounding this brilliant science-fiction film have depicted that somehow we ourselves are unsure of what is real and what is not. Each actor has their own creative part to play, and despite what you may think, with all the life-threatening and time-travel twists to get your head around, it will end up having a real impact on you, thinking about the real issues that are actually quite close to home. Expand
  6. May 18, 2014
    I love this movie so much and I can't even explain why.

    Like, there's so much going on but it's not a mess, it's all in its place.

    in all, something refreshing. Expand
  7. Jan 26, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. these ratings baffle me all the time, it's like i'm watching a different movie,
    and here i say it, the movie wasn't that good, twist endings and mystery are my favorite genre so i know what i'm talking about.
    yeah it's a movie about time travel but it's doesn't offer a new idea or a new sight or objective, which means it doesn't use the time travel to it's benefit, and the movie doesn't look good, the screen was dark, it was actually too dark that i've seen movies done in the 80's that's better than this.
    yeah the movie keep you guessing and deciphering and offers a questionable ending, i get it ok,
    but don't overrated any movie because it left you baffled, think about this way, it's not enjoyable, didn't bring a new thing to the table and more importantly the screen was terrible.

See all 37 User Reviews


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