Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe
Terry Gilliam
David Webb Peoples
Rated R
129 Mins.
 "12 Monkeys" Review 
Add to favorites

There are two words why I've rated "Twelve Monkeys" a "C"...Bruce Willis.

In perhaps the most demanding role of his career, Willis offers the emotional resonance primarily through shrieks and yelps. Bruce, my dear one, that is not is yelling. There is a difference...well, at least there's a difference in a film such as this one.

I needed to watch "Twelve Monkeys" again to remind myself what didn't work for me...It is a film that is so respected, enjoyed and admired by so many people I respect. I still respect you...hopefully, you still respect me. I respect Brad Pitt...he's incredibly awesome here and nearly pushes this film into the "B" range on his own...I even respect Madeleine Stowe. She offers her best performance outside of "Closet Land" in this's a damn fine performance.

I respect director Terry Gilliam for tackling a challenging film such as this fact, I can definitely say that in my second viewing of this film I "got" things I didn't get the first time. Yet, as in my first viewing, I still didn't care. I didn't care largely because of the lack of authenticity that Willis brings to the character of James Cole. I didn't care about his challenges, journey, problems, etc...and when I don't care about the main character then the film never reaches beyond average. I don't care how smart the script clever the directing...I have to care and I didn't.

Basically, the story "centers" around a convict who is sent back in time to stop a devastating plague but ends up being sent back too far and is hospitalized as insane. For the record, I've assessed people for mental illness for the last 10 years...Willis would NOT have been hospitalized for insanity. He was not insane...personality disorder? perhaps...but not insane.

Other than Willis, the performances here are uniformly solid. This film certainly doesn't qualify as entertainment, however, that is clearly not its goal. It is a dark film on a dark subject and its production design fits beautifully (though appears a bit too "low budget" at times).

I really thought upon a second viewing my opinion might change...I thought it might be one of "those" just needed to grow on me. Nope. Quite simply, I didn't buy into Willis' performance and that failure drops this film considerably into the land of what I consider to be an average film.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

    our twitterour facebook page pintrestlinkdin

    The Independent Critic © 2008 - 2020