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The Zero Theorem

Coming Soon

Set in a dystopian future where consumerism is the new religion, we meet Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz), a loner and mathematical genius trapped in an oppressive day job that’s preventing him from understanding the meaning of his existence. He is fearful that life is for naught, but hopeful that a fateful phone call contains a life-affirming message. He obsesses over this phone call, demanding management allow him to crunch “entities” from home. His boss – only ever referred to as Management (Matt Damon) – eventually offers Qohen an at-home assignment where he must solve The Zero Theorem, a complex equation designed to demonstrate that everything, is in fact, meaningless. To make things worse, he is pitted against impossible deadlines and distractions at every turn.

Zero Theorem is a mixed bag of good and downright forgettable performances. Christoph Waltz delivers wonderfully in the (bald) skin of Qohen; this being his first leading role, Waltz shows Hollywood is a capable leading man. His love interest is an on-line stripper named Bainsley, played by Mélanie Thierry, but her character is out of place in Qohen’s world and Thierry collapses under the weight. Tilda Swinton – who’s been on a tear lately – offers her expertise to Qohen’s eccentric therapist with resounding frivolity. Rounding out the principle characters is Qohen’s unruly friend and equally talented numbers genius, named Bob (Lucas Hedges). While not an awful performance, Bob seems to be the unlikeliest voice of reason, but Pat Rushin’s screenplay is littered with unscrupulous miscues.

Terry Gilliam’s unique visual flare lent itself wonderfully to the first two films in his Orwellian trilogy, Brazil and 12 Monkeys, always enhancing the underlying themes. The surreal imagery he concocted were often the most interesting aspects of those movies. Unfortunately, The Zero Theorem relies too heavily on the visuals and not enough storytelling, giving way to an utterly drab and drag experience. This third and final entry is a disappointing conclusion, but still worth your time to explore.

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Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.

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