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

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Universal acclaim- based on 136 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: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  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. Aug 13, 2014
    This movie is one of Gilliam's best, and it won't leave your brain bored. Brilliant performances by Bruce Willis and one of the best performances of Brad Pitt in his acting career. Great movie. Expand
  6. Jun 27, 2014
    Twelve Monkeys is a little hard to understand at first, but once it got into it, it became a great mind bending science fiction thriller that was complex, sure, but was not overly complicated when it came to figuring out what exactly was happening. The science fiction elements are great and really thought provoking about what we consider to be insanity. In addition, Brad Pitt was absolutely fantastic. He killed his role here and really stole the show, not to say that Madeline Stowe or Bruce Willis were not good, because they were. This one certainly keeps you guessing until the end and really sinks its hooks deep into you and does not let go until the film is over. The only thing about this one is that I saw in some places that it is considered a satire, though I never really found it funny. Sure, Pitt's over the top performance is at times funny, but for the most part, that is about it. But, aside from that small confusion for me, Twelve Monkeys is a very good film that shows Terry Gilliam's mastery of the science fiction genre. 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 39 User Reviews


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