6.1/10
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140 user 245 critic

The Zero Theorem (2013)

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A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless. But meaning is what he already craves.

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(screenplay), (additional dialogue)
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3,789 ( 45)
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Ray Cooper ...
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Doctor
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Bob
Margarita Doyle ...
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Slim Clone
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Storyline

A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless. But meaning is what he already craves.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing is everything.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

19 August 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Teorema Zero  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$79,967 (UK) (14 March 2014)

Gross:

$219,438 (USA) (3 October 2014)
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Technical Specs

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| (surveillance footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Scriptwriter Pat Rushin and his wife Mary can be seen as extras in one scene set in a park. They're visible in the background, sitting on a park bench. Mary is reading a newspaper and Pat is writing on a briefcase. He's actually writing lines for the scrolling "Mancom Motivational" messages seen throughout the film. The scene was shot in the Carol Park in Bucharest, Romania. See more »

Goofs

When Qohen is sitting at his computer naked, he is wearing flesh colored underwear. See more »

Quotes

Qohen Leth: What kind of work do you do exactly?
Bainsley: I shoot trouble
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Crazy Credits

In memory of the great Richard D. Zanuck who kept the ball rolling. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sugarcube Critic: Mare in the Moon (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Creep
Written by Thom Yorke
Performed by Karen Souza
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User Reviews

 
The best Gilliam film so far
20 March 2014 | by See all my reviews

First of all, I must state that I've been following Terry Gilliam since the 1990s and that I have seen all of his films in retrospect. Most of them I liked instantly, some required multiple viewings to completely grasp but some were quite disappointing though. In my humble opinion, ever since 'The Fisher King' every new Gilliam film was either better or at least on par with the previous (with the exception of 'The Brothers Grimm' which was a dud). Having said all of that, I feel as if I still just wasn't prepared for 'The Zero Theorem'.

I usually don't make decisions about films to watch based on reviews (especially when it's a film by an author I admire), but I've read some very negative reviews on this one. What most of them had in common was that 'The Zero Theorem' was a shallow copy of 'Brazil' and/or 'Blade Runner'. Honestly, after seeing the film I think such superficial remarks are as fair as calling 'Saving Private Ryan' "a shallow copy of 'The Dirty Dozen'".

Although set in the future, 'The Zero Theorem' is a subtle but harsh critique of modern society much like the two aforementioned films it supposedly "copies", but it covers a completely different main subject. While 'Brazil' was a satire focused on a struggle between a small man and the bureaucracy, 'The Zero Theorem' touches much wider ground and asks some more important questions: Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose? What's great about 'The Zero Theorem' is that it refrains from answering and lets the viewers find the answers themselves, and as such it not only succeeds to convey the message that life is too short to waste on waiting for some divine call but also touches on the very meaning of our existence more than any film I have ever seen.

On the technical side, the film is beautifully crafted, astonishingly decorated, marvelously acted and masterfully directed. This is a work of a great author in his prime and had it been made earlier in Gilliam's career it would have no doubt been remembered as his defining masterpiece. Almost thirty years after 'Brazil' it draws inevitable comparisons and is unfortunately labeled as lesser by people who obviously and sadly miss its complete point.

It is hard to judge 'The Zero Theorem' just as a film, because it is so much more than just a moving picture. Seeing it only for entertainment will most certainly leave the viewer dissatisfied. Watching it as an art form but also a philosophic treatise, it becomes some sort of a Nietzschean abyss staring back at you: it is deeper than imaginable but a fully cathartic experience as such.

A full and perfect 10 out of 10.


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