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Taglines: The future is history.
Based on La Jetée by Chris Marker.
The events of the film take place in the future, in which there is no trace of the usual civilization. In the first half of the 21st century, people were on the verge of extinction, which was caused by the rapid spread of the virus of inhuman power. This virus spread across the surface of the planet at such an incredible speed that there was simply no chance of salvation. And now the surviving people are forced to live deep underground and look for ways to bring everything back to their places. It is still unsafe on the surface to this day, so people convicted of crimes who are thereby trying to win freedom are forced to go on sorties.
The plot focuses on one of the outgoing criminals, who are given a rare chance to spend the whole term in one fell swoop. To do this, he needs to risk his own life for the benefit of mankind. Local scientists were able to create a device that will take the protagonist into the past, shortly before the appearance of this powerful virus that caused the apocalypse. He needs to get information that could help turn the tragedy back. But during this journey, the protagonist will have the opportunity to change the course of history once and for all.
Creators: David Peoples, Janet Peoples
Director: Terry Gilliam
Star Cast: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, Joseph Melito, Michael Chance, Bob Adrian, Simon Jones, Bill Raymond, Madeleine Stowe,
Producer (s): Charles Roven
Cinematographer: Roger Pratt
Music: Paul Buckmaster
Production House: Atlas Entertainment, Classico
Original network / Official Sites: Universal Pictures
Release Year: 5 January 1996 (USA)
Runtime: 129 min
Genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Language: English, French
Subtitles: English, Bengali
A deadly virus, released in 1996, wipes out almost all of humanity; survivors are forced to live underground. A group known as the Army of the Twelve Monkeys is believed to have released the virus.
In 2035, James Cole is a prisoner living in a subterranean compound beneath the ruins of Philadelphia. Cole is selected to be trained and sent back in time to find the original virus to help scientists develop a cure. Meanwhile, Cole is troubled by recurring dreams involving a foot chase and shooting at an airport.
Cole arrives in Baltimore, 1990, not 1996 as planned; he is arrested and incarcerated at a mental hospital on the diagnosis of Dr. Kathryn Railly. There he encounters Jeffrey Goines, a mental patient with fanatical environmentalist and anti-corporatist views. Cole is interviewed by a panel of doctors where he tries to explain that the virus outbreak has already happened and that nobody can change it.
After an escape attempt, Cole is sedated and locked in a cell, but he disappears moments later, waking up back in 2035. Cole is interrogated by the scientists who play a distorted voicemail message that asserts the association of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys with the virus. He is also shown photos of numerous people suspected of being involved, including Goines. The scientists offer Cole a second chance to complete his mission and send him back in time. Cole accidentally arrives at a battlefield during World War I, is shot in the leg and then suddenly transported to 1996.
In 1996, Railly gives a lecture about the Cassandra complex to a group of scientists. At the post-lecture book signing, Railly meets Dr. Peters who tells her that apocalypse alarmists represent the sane vision while humanity’s gradual destruction of the environment is the real lunacy.
Cole arrives at the venue after seeing flyers publicizing it and, when Railly departs, he kidnaps her and forces her to take him to Philadelphia. They learn that Goines is the founder of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys before they set out in search of him. When they confront Goines, he denies any involvement with the group and says that, in 1990, Cole originated the idea of wiping out humanity with a virus stolen from Goines’ virologist father.
About to be apprehended by police, Cole is transported back to 2035 where he reaffirms to the scientists his commitment to his mission. But when he finds Railly again in 1996, he tells her he now believes himself crazy as she had suggested all along. Meanwhile Railly has discovered evidence of his time travel which she shows him, believing he is sane. They decide to depart for the Florida Keys before the onset of the plague.
On their way to the airport, they learn that the Army of the Twelve Monkeys was not the source of the epidemic; the group’s major act of protest is releasing animals from a zoo and placing Goines’ father in an animal cage. At the airport, Cole leaves a last message telling the scientists that in following the Army of the Twelve Monkeys they are on the wrong track and that he will not return. Cole is soon confronted by Jose, an acquaintance from his own time, who gives Cole a handgun and ambiguously instructs him to follow orders.
At the same time, Railly spots Dr. Peters and recognizes him from a newspaper photograph as an assistant at Goines’ father’s virology lab. Peters is about to embark on a tour of several cities that match the locations and sequence of the viral outbreaks.
Cole forces his way through a security checkpoint in pursuit of Peters. After drawing the gun he was given, Cole is fatally shot by police. As Cole lies dying in Railly’s arms, Railly suddenly begins to scan the crowd around her, seemingly looking for something she knows must be there. Railly finally makes eye contact with a small boy—the young James Cole witnessing the scene of his own death, which will replay in his dreams for years to come. Peters, safely aboard the plane with the virus, sits down next to Jones, one of the scientists from the future, who comments that her job is “insurance.”