Film review: The Zero Theorem
Director: Terry Gilliam | Cast: Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry and David Thewlis | Minutes: 106 | Cert 15 | Rating: 3 stars
Terry Gilliam is desperately hunting for hope in a world that grows increasingly oppressive. His vision here is London in the near future where corporations and technological advances combine to crush the human spirit.
Computer programmer Qohen (Christoph Waltz) is a virtual recluse who spends his time working from home in an abandoned church, waiting for a phone call which he believes will explain the meaning of life. The leader of the strange corporation which employs Qohen is a man known only as Management (Matt Damon) who presents Qohen with a new assignment.
He must crunch ‘entities’ to solve the Zero Theorem, a mysterious and elusive mathematical theorem which proves that everything is pointless. However, it seems Management is determined that Qohen will not complete his task and sends in his beautiful cyber pal Bainsley (Mélanie Thierry) to distract him from his work. Comfort is also provided by co-worker Joby (David Thewlis) and Lucas Hedges plays wunderkind computer programmer Bob.
The first half of this fantasy feature is a futuristic melee in a vaguely recognisable world cluttered with gizmos, devices and other forms of communication. Tilda Swinton plays an entertaining and amusing cameo role as cyber psychiatrist Dr Shrink-Rom and there is plenty of high emotion when Qohen finally finds some answers.
While the film’s action is slightly uneven, Gilliam’s manic inventiveness and fondness for human foibles adds a vital spark to the proceedings.