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Brazil (1985)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Christmas: a bureaucratic metropolis beset by bomb-throwers. Clever, unambitious, mother-dominated Sam Lowry (in dreams he is the winged knight of a distressed damsel) saves the face of Mr. Kurtzmann, his lily-livered boss at the Ministry of Information, and sets about containing the muddle caused by the mistaken arrest (and apparent despatch) of the innocent Mr. Buttle.

On a visit to Mrs. Buttle to refund the fee charged her husband for his arrest, Sam glimpses a neighbour, the girl of his dreams, truck driver Jill Layton. That evening, he finds two vengeful workmen tearing apart his flat, the central heating having earlier been repaired, illegally, by engineer Harry Tuttle, the renegade free spirit for whom Buttle unwittingly gave his life.

Determined to learn more about the girl (who is herself determined to get to the bottom of Buttle's disappearance), Sam swallows his principles and appeals to his mother's friend Eugene Helpmann, Deputy Minister of Information, for a promotion (earlier refused) to the staff of brisk Mr. Warrenn at the Ministry of Information Retrieval. Jill's file subsequently turns up at the office of Sam's friend, obsequious, ambitious Jack Lint, the man who tortured Buttle to death (there was no mention of heart trouble on Tuttle's file).

Sam is rebuffed during a speeding truck drive as he tries to warn Jill of her peril; he mistakes her for a bomber and in panic compels her to flee from the law. Both are arrested (Sam only temporarily) after a department store bombing. The couple are later reconciled (Jill, by this time, having been mysteriously released), and Sam goes secretly to Helpmann's penthouse office to 'kill' Jill on the electronic information retrieval file.

Next morning, Jill and Sam wake up in his mother's flat with stormtroopers crashing in on them. Jill is later murdered and Sam prepared for Jack's administrations. Tuttle and some abseiling companions arrive, however, to save the day. Sam escapes, although Tuttle dematerialises in a flurry of newsprint.

Having passed through the macabre funeral of Mrs. Terrain, a vain friend of his mother's, Sam finds himself reunited with Jill. They drive to a country hideaway. But Sam, still in the torturer's chair, has only been dreaming...