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The Zero Theorem

Film & TV

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Computer genius Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) is an eccentric computer whiz searching for the meaning of life among the noise and chaos of a futuristic London.

When his tech skills catch the eye of “Management” (Matt Damon), Leth is charged with completing The Zero Theorem, a computer program which will finally answer humankind’s greatest question: Why are we here? But Leth discovers that not all life’s answers can be downloaded, and meaning can come from the simplest of human pleasures.

Directed by Terry Gilliam, The Zero Theorem promises an exploration of human existence. What it delivers is 107 minutes of brain-numbing boredom.  Gilliam and writer Pat Rushin have taken what could have been a thought-provoking topic and wrapped it in a messy, bizarre package.

Waltz’s performance as Qohen Leth is beyond weird, and his character’s many annoying personality traits (such as his inexplicable need to address himself as “we”) eventually become irritating. Damon’s “Management” is also unusual individual whose character is never really explored in depth, and many would expect better from the actor who gave us the Bourne trilogy. Melanie Thierry gives an over-enthusiastic performance as Bainsley, Leth’s supposed love interest, while Tilda Swinton is Dr Shrink-Rom, his pre-programmed psychiatrist.

The cast appears to be trying too hard to bring their characters to life, while the bright, outrageous costumes look like they have been taken from Dr Seuss’s reject pile.

Credit must be given to the special effects team which brings futuristic London to life by creating a colourful, hyperactive world where advertisements follow people down the street and computer stations look surprisingly like holograms operated by Play Station remotes. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to save the The Zero Theorem.

While Leth spent his time pondering the meaning of existence, I spent mine searching for the meaning of this film.

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