Premiere - 12/01/1995
"...Plenty of surrealistic fluorish..."
Rolling Stone - 01/29/1996
"...Pitt is terrific....Solving the riddle of 12 MONKEYS is an exhilarating challenge..."
USA Today - 12/27/1995
"...A Hitchcockian chase...A crowd-pleasing airport-pursuit pic..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
Entertainment Weekly - 07/12/1996
"...A near-fractal script,...[an] achingly battered performance [by Willis]...and its own pell-mell momentum....Emotional urgency..." -- Rating: B+
Los Angeles Times - 12/27/1995
"...An unlikely love story combined with a visionary detective yarn....Mystifying, intriguing..."
Wall Street Journal - 09/27/2012
"This is vintage Gilliam, meaning it's dark, pessimistic, intricate at best..."
When a man enters a hospital claiming to have journeyed back in time from the year 2025 to stop a killer virus from exterminating mankind, a beautiful psychologist decides he might be more than delusional. Terry Gilliam populates this labyrinthine, apocalyptic film with twisted characters and eerie revelations. The film was shot primarily in Philadelphia; Gilliam uses the more dilapidated area of the city to the film's apocalyptic advantage. The film is based on the 1962 French short film LA JETEE.
In this intriguing science fiction film from director Terry Gilliam, penal colony prisoner James Cole must travel back in time from the year 2035 to find the cause of a virus that killed five billion people in 1997. Cole's trip into the past won't be easy. For starters, he winds up in the wrong year on his first attempt. Once, as he time-travels, Cole ends up a prisoner in an insane asylum in 1990. There, he meets psychiatrist Kathryn Railly and inmate Jeffrey Goines, who could hold the key to the epidemic's spread. Cole later winds up in the middle of a World War I battlefield. After meeting James for a second time, in another year, Dr. Railly gets further involved in his quest. Although she thinks at first that Cole must be crazy, Kathryn soon starts to believe him and attempts to help. But James has already started to question his own sanity and tries to figure out if his journeys through time are real or if he's just been imagining everything.