In the year 2035, convict James Cole reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to discover the origin of a deadly virus that wiped out nearly all of the earth's population and forced the survivors into underground communities. But when Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990 instead of 1996, he's arrested and locked up in a mental hospital. There he meets psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly, and patient Jeffrey Goines, the son of a famous virus expert, who may hold the key to the mysterious rogue group, the Army of the 12 Monkeys, thought to be responsible for unleashing the killer disease.
Really good sci-fi thriller with wonderful performances by Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe and Brad Pitt. Really well done by director Terry Gilliam that has great pacing through the two hour running time. **4.0/5**
**_A-man-comes-back-from-the-future Sci-Fi with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt_** In 2035 survivors are living underground after a viral outbreak has wiped out most of the populace. A prisoner (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to obtain the original virus so scientists can find a cure. Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer and David Morse are on hand in key roles. "12 Monkeys" (1996) has a huge reputation as a sci-fi thriller and is iconic of 90’s cinema. The man coming back from the future plot immediately brings to mind the first two Terminator flicks (from 1984 and 1991), but “12 Monkeys” pales by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth seeing and is entertaining enough with Madeleine Stowe shining, but the story is hampered by a muddled tone of schizophrenia and the unrelenting grunginess of the visual aesthetic (which makes perfect sense for 2035, but not for 1990 and 1996 where most of the events take place). In short, the movie’s just not as compelling as it could be. People gush over Brad Pitt’s role and he is entertaining, but it’s a glaring rip-off of Dennis Hopper’s photojournalist in “Apocalypse Now” (1979), although I suppose you could see it as an homage. In any case, I could see through Pitt’s acting here and there whereas Hopper was the real deal, perhaps because he & crew were literally stuck in the sweltering jungle waiting around for days doing drugs or whatever while Coppola & Brando worked out the kinks in the script for the last act. If I'm in the mood for this kind of fare, the first three Terminator flicks are a superior option and even the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008). This one's decent, but overrated. The film runs 2 hours, 9 minutes, and was shot primarily in the Philadelphia & Baltimore areas. For instance, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was used for the rundown asylum. GRADE: B-