Robert DeNiro plays Harry Tuttle, the subversive heating engineer, in Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Jonathan Price and Kim Greist play runaways escaping the dystopian city though only in the tortured mind of Price's Sam Lowry. There is, of course, much more to Gilliam's greatest film, even if a large part of the story was dropped from the original script which moldered for seven years in the director's attic.
I was in the second year of college when I first saw it. This portrait of an Orwellian society ruled by bureaucrats engaged in the banality of evil seemed to speak true to my experience as an underclassman at a state university in Reagan's America where for the first time in my life I was my social security number and took classes - if I could get them - not because I wanted to, but because it was expected of me and I needed this many ENGs and that many EUHs and either a BSC or a BOT. We were directed to choose a major and imagine a future career, but no one spoke to us about purpose or vision or anything as naive as dreams. Sam Lowry is rescued from the torturer's chair and invited to aid Tuttle's revolutionaries downstairs in wiping out a squadron of jackbooted thugs and I didn't need to know that this scene parodies Eisenstein's "Odessa Steps" sequence to realize its fierce humor.
One night, after watching Brazil once again, this time on acid, we got in the car and drove to the coast, then balancing along the handrail of a boardwalk, a full moon lighting our way to a roiling surfscape. Tuttle, the terrorist heating repairman, is quite the marksman planting a bullet neatly in the baby-face-masked forehead of Michael Palin's torturer. He rappels hundreds of feet from the ceiling of the ministry building which is as crazy as running the bulls in Pamplona or deciding on the spur of the moment to jump from one railing to the other, an idea that seems brilliant the moment before I do it.