The title refers to a production issue in Twelve Monkeys, where a hamster in a hamster exercise wheel was used as part of the set decoration. When the hamster refused to perform at the appropriate time, production was halted, causing a relatively simple scene (less than 10 seconds of screen time) to take almost an entire day to film. See more »
Gilliam is not a difficult man to understand. He's a painter, not a filmmaker, so he is all about scenes and richness of the moment. Everything has to be delivered now; there is no notion of building so that bigger things can be delivered. There's no long form conveyance, no structure at the scale of life: only powerful effect in the moment as if you were on a drug that erased most memory and all anticipative cognition.
There's a place for this. Usually it isn't as the filmmaker.
But there is a class of films where the inadequacy of the filmmaker is the point: his foibles becoming entangled with what we see on the screen. This was the case with "12 Monkeys" and it is the metastory of this film.
Simply put, Bruce Willis' character has no idea what is real or not. He has no concept of narrative continuity. Everything reflects a past future, meaning no future.
What he has is what he sees and he has no ability to project. As it happens, Gilliam gets entangled with this project in a way that messes with his life while bending the manner in which the story is told to reflect this quiet madness. So the way the film is broken is the point, and we have this here as the real story.
Its pretty cool. You need to see the two together, plus the remarkable "la Jette"
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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