Terry Gilliam brings a unique vision to his work — a mix of social commentary, absurd slapstick and pitch black humor. BRAZIL — which is set in a cold, totalitarian society — is not only his most accomplished work narratively, but the most effective blending of the various elements of his style.
The world of BRAZIL is a bureaucratic industrial behemoth where the government controls everything, but excels at nothing. Minor tasks take ages to accomplish due to pointless paperwork. A mistake occurs that leads to a Mr. Buttle being arrested instead of Archibald "Harry" Tuttle (Robert DeNiro, AWAKENINGS), whose crime is that he is covertly operating as an engineer who is infinitely more efficient and competent than the government's Central Services workers. The error comes down to the records department where Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce, EVITA) must clean up the mess. Lowry is not only good at his job, but seemingly the only one who cares about what he's doing while the rest of his co-workers just watch TV. His boss Mr. Kurtzmann (Ian Holm, THE SWEET HEREAFTER) is a nervous wreck whose main talents are avoiding responsibility and passing the buck.