Cyberpunk Review » Twelve Monkeys

January 16, 2006

Twelve Monkeys

Year: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

Written by: Chris Marker, David & Janet Peoples (screenplay),

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

Key Cast Members:

  • James Cole: Bruce Willis
  • Kathryn Railly: Madeleine Stowe
  • Jeffrey Goines: Brad Pitt
  • Rating: 10 out of 10

    screen capture


    Overview:Twelve Monkeys is yet another tour-de-force from film maker Terry Gilliam. Done as a remake to the very innovative experimental French film, La Jetée, Gilliam is able to take the same notions of time travel, dystopic futures and personal trauma and love, and wrap it into a truly riviting package.

    Because of the similarities, I have reviewed this movie in-depth in combination with La Jetée (these two movies truly go together). Please check it out:


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review


    August 8, 2006

    Adam Doub said:

    Twelve Monkeys is definately some of Terry Gilliam’s best work. They actually spent almost 2 weeks shooting a simple shot of Bruce Willis drawing blood from his arm, due to the simple fact that in the background was a hamster in a cage that Gilliam was obsessed with having it run in it’s wheel, but everytime they shot the scene the hamster was either asleep or just didn’t feel like running in it’s wheel. This is what the industry has deemed ‘The Hamster Factor’ a term Gilliam has left the industry forever… obsession with shooting a shot in perfection with not a simple thing (be it a hamster not in the right place at the right time) being left out. This is why the end result of Gilliam’s films feel so surreal but so life-like, as though you could reach out and touch the scenery. This film’s main focus is sanity :) Which makes for alot of fun. A MUST SEE.

    January 22, 2007 » Blog Archive » La Jetee said (pingback):

    […] According to Cyberpunk review, 12 Monkeys is a remake of La Jetee.. SFAM over at Cyberpunk review has done a brilliant job of documenting and reviewing cyberpunk movies, good and bad. He also, compared the similarities of the two in his review The Acorn and the Oak Tree. […]

    September 8, 2007

    Rick said:

    Mmmmm, didn’t like Twelve Monkeys that much, seemed a bit predictable and overrated for its own good, to be honest. I don’t think this movie can even touch Brazil, what I view as Gilliam’s best work.

    September 9, 2007

    L1zrdking said:

    This is still one of my favorite movies, I cant say I agree with RIck as far as being predictable, considering that they didnt stop the horrible plague from wiping out most of humanity. However, I do agree Brazil is still far superior to 12 Monkeys. But I still love 12 Monkeys, in fact, this makes me want to go watch it again, and, I think I will.

    September 7, 2008

    Anonymous said:

    nice job ruining the ending buddy

    September 8, 2008

    Mr No1 said:

    Hahahaha Anonymous… Yeah, people should warn about spoilers now and again…
    Anyway, love this film, prolly my Gilliam’s fav. I like Brazil also, but I consider 12 monkeys better.

    October 25, 2008

    Bob said:

    Ok, ok, for all those upset at the ’spoilers’, why not check out my fan fic script for the 12 Monkeys SEQUEL. Basic, straight-forward account from about 6 hours after the airport scene to about April 1997. I attempt to address the one big paradox in 12 Monkeys; that is, ‘what about that loose end that we left behind in 1996 — this woman, Kathryn Railly? She knows what is about to happen!’
    Here’s something to which we may not give much thought in our comfortable, modern lives.

    As evidenced by the ongoing threat from H5N1, bird flu, Ebola or SARS, viruses are not something that Man has yet brought under control. And with such deadly organisms in our midst, perhaps our “trust” in scientists as both the gatekeepers as well as the ones to solve any problems that arise may be ill-placed.

    The pandemic scenario in the 1995 film, “12 Monkeys” clearly illustrated this dilemma and was, I believe, the most plausible, disturbing apocalyptic vision in motion picture history. It may reassure us to dismiss what the solitary antagonist did in that story because it was just a movie. However, nuclear war, terrorism and even natural disasters pale to the human devastation that such a deranged person in a position of secure access, as was “Dr. Peters”, could exact on his fellow Man.

    Inspired by that marvelous film, as an ambitious personal project I have written a trilogy of sequels that cover a 30-year timespan.

    Ellen Ripley (”Alien”) and Sarah Connor (”Terminator”) have gained prominence in motion picture history for their roles as apocalyptic heroines of the highest order. Add to that list Dr. Kathryn Railly of “Cassandra”. Although sharing their compassion, dedication and perseverance, this woman’s repertoire does not include gun skills or martial arts. Instead, she brings to the table her academic and scientific background, Hippocratic Oath, and an unyielding faith in how the “system” is supposed to work.

    Still, in this story nothing can prepare Kathryn for the unimaginable circumstances she faces. These include her personal quandary — she meets only disbelief and ridicule as she tries to alert authorities to the madman spreading his heinous virus across the globe.

    Even worse, this cruel reality is apparently but an unchangeable “flashback” of the pandemic survivors in the future. Evidently, all of this has “already happened”.

    As the terrible events unfold, does it mean Kathryn can, can’t, should or shouldn’t try to act to stop them? Does knowledge of the world’s “fate” mean that “free will” — to try to intervene and stop the holocaust — is irrelevant or even unnecessary? Or is a conscious decision to “act” the most important thing of all about “fate”?

    In “Cassandra”, only a dedicated cop who falls in love with Kathryn comes close to believing her and recognizing the threat. She finds herself in a dying world where hope lies with the scientists in the future whom Kathryn, unbeknownst to her, helped to survive the apocalypse in the first place.


    Bob said:

    Sorry, I wasn’t quite clear on whether or not a ’signature’ would show up in my previous posting.

    The website is

    The scripts are password protected. The password is always the ‘version number’, presently ‘2008-10-25-01′


    May 18, 2009

    K. said:

    How exactly is this movie cyberpunk? I can see some cpunk elements, as in most science fiction but I most certainly wouldn’t classify this film as being cyberpunk. I think ‘dystopic science fiction’ is a much more accurate genre for it.

    February 21, 2010

    sergey said:

    Cinema in general interesting, I advise to look all!!!

    October 22, 2010

    Curious Yellow said:

    This movie asks the same questions as so many before and after it “Is the world that I see around me real.” From Decartes to matrix and now to inception the question has bothered us for so long but instead of aswering directly it shows us how what is considered as the truth is nothing more than general opinion.

    The thing i specialy liked about this movie was how you can make someone question its own sences by only using words. It just works ‘cos how one can know that he’s insane.

    There weren’t realy that much cyberpunk elements but nevertheless it is a great movie and I just got huge urge to watch it again.

    May 5, 2012

    AlexFate said:

    An alternative re/view on The Twelve Monkeys… Enjoy :-)

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