12 Monkeys (1995)

The future is history.

Blu-ray, 2h 9min
Rating: 8
Votes: 553431
Languages: English, French
Country: USA
Director: Terry Gilliam

Plot outline

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Personal notes

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Plots

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet. - Anonymous

An intense film about time travel, this Sci-Fi entry was directed by Terry Gilliam, a member of the comedy troupe Monty Python. The film stars Bruce Willis as James Cole, a prisoner of the state in the year 2035 who can earn parole if he agrees to travel back in time and thwart a devastating plague. The virus has wiped out most of the Earth's population and the remainder live underground because the air is poisonous. Returning to the year 1990, six years before the start of the plague, Cole is soon imprisoned in a psychiatric facility because his warnings sound like mad ravings. There he meets a scientist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the mad son of an eminent virologist (Christopher Plummer). Cole is returned by the authorities to the year 2035, and finally ends up at his intended destination in 1996. He kidnaps Dr. Railly in order to enlist her help in his quest. Cole discovers graffiti by an apparent animal rights group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, but as he delves into the mystery, he hears voices, loses his bearings, and doubts his own sanity. He must figure out if Goines, who seems to be a raving lunatic, holds the key to the puzzle.

Claiming to be a time traveller from the distant 2035, James Cole--a delusional patient hospitalised in a 1990 mental institution--feels compelled to carry out his important mission: to save the world from a devastating virulent agent capable of annihilating billions. However, as Cole's psychiatrist, Dr Kathryn Railly, senses that there is more to him than meets the eye, a fateful encounter with another inmate--the unhinged, Jeffrey Goines--will trigger a string of unfathomable events, balancing between the past and the present, sanity and insanity. Now, all clues point to the extreme activist group known only as the Army of the Twelve Monkeys; nevertheless, is the reality Cole so eloquently describes, indeed, true, or is it only a disturbing but subjective hallucination? - Nick Riganas

An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. A convict (James Cole) reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to 1996 to gather information about the origin of the epidemic (who he's told was spread by a mysterious "Army of the Twelve Monkeys") and locate the virus before it mutates so that scientists can study it. Unfortunately Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990, six years earlier than expected, and is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert. - Giancarlo Cairella

When Cole, a convict volunteer, is sent back in time to find information on a deadly virus that will destroy 5,000,000,000 members of the human race in 1996-1997, he mistakenly arrives in 1990. After explaining his plea to Dr. Kathryn Railly, he is placed in a mental institution. In 1996, he kidnaps Railly, using her to find the 12 Monkeys, a group of revolutionists that are planning to release the virus into select cities. But, he is wanted by the authorities for murder and kidnapping, plus he refuses to return to the future; he is in love with Railly. - Scott Morris

Terry Gilliam's nightmarish low-tech/high-tech future vision takes place in 1997, after a deadly virus has killed 99% of the human population--forcing the survivors to flee beneath our planet's surface. This leaves the (other) animals topside, to rule the Earth once again. The scientists select James Cole, an imprisoned sociopath, to return to the past and gather information useful in the defense against this contagion. Once back in time, he is to investigate the mysterious 'Army of the Twelve Monkeys' and report his findings. Scientific, social, and political themes like time travel (and its inherent paradoxes and nested loops), mental illness, the nature of reality, animal rights, and the Armageddon-potential of unchecked technological advances are artfully and cleverly explored. - Tad Dibbern