Film reviews: The Zero Theorem | The Stag

The Zero Theorem. Picture: Contributed

The Zero Theorem. Picture: Contributed

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IT’S almost 30 years since Terry Gilliam made his marvellous, troubled and troubling fantasia Brazil.

Star rating: * * *

Time enough for all of us to move on – but not, alas, Gilliam, whose personal projects often seem to fiddle obsessively with the same themes as his most successful movie.

The Zero Theorem is his most Brazil-ian movie to date, shot in just 36 days, after the money for his real passion project Don Quixote fell apart yet again, leaving Gilliam at a loose end until a studio stepped in and offered him the story of nerdy number-cruncher Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz), a bald, neurotic recluse who works on a production line and dreams of staying home so he can be around for a phone call which may explain the meaning of his existence.

However, when his Orwellian boss (Matt Damon, with a Jean Harlow rinse) finally agrees to let him tackle a new project from home, his life becomes even more chaotic, with interruptions from the boss’ precocious son Bob (Lucas Hedges), pizza delivery men, dwarves and a buxom escort girl (Melanie Thierry), who sets up a website so he can daydream about sharing a paradise with her.

Theorem is not exactly like Brazil – its dystopian vision is candy-coloured rather than dark, Qohen dreams of having hair rather than wings, and the overarching threat in the film is corporate rather than political. Nor is it as inventive, sharply satirical, accomplished or deeply felt.

The Stag (15)

Star rating: * * *

Mildly entertaining Irish bromance where a ragbag of friends, including Sherlock’s Andrew Scott, embark on a

pre-nuptial hiking weekend,

only to have it hijacked by the bride’s overbearing brother

(Peter McDonald, the film’s co-writer). Not as crass as other bachelor party flicks, in that we have to wait almost an hour for the leads to get humiliatingly naked.

On general release

300: Rise Of An Empire (3D) (15)

Star rating; * *

The eight-year gap between Zack Snyder’s guts and gore extravaganza – which made an international star of Gerard Butler – and a sequel suggests some head-scratching as to how to revive a story when practically all your prodigiously muscled heroes perished in the first instalment.

The solution is to shift sideways to a concurrent sea battle, where a swivel-eyed Eva Green wages war on Greek general Sullivan Stapleton, a Sting on steroids. Despite hyperbolic acting, this is a dull-witted combination of ancient Greece and modern CGI – and the 3D element means that everyone bleeds as if entirely made of arteries.

On general release

Need For Speed 3D (12A)

Star rating: * * *

Based on the hit racing computer game, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul gives it gears and glower as an ex-con driving coast-to-coast in a supercar to get revenge on Dominic Cooper. With Imogen Poots in the passenger seat,

Need For Speed isn’t as sweatily homo- and auto-erotic as the hot-rodding Fast And Furious franchise, but the plot between high-octane chases feels like a used car cut-and-shut.

On general release from Wednesday

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