Headscratchers / Brazil

  • They were expecting to get testimony out of Sam with torture that ends with a spike through the forehead?
    • Careful attention to almost muted dialog before that scene reveals they are trying to get him to sign the bill for the arrest, incarceration, torture and paperwork. Yes, you have to pay for your own torture in Brazil. And that is all they were after.
    • Actually, that was not a spike through his forehead - it was just the other black tubular handle of the helmet device. From that angle, it simply resembles a spike. From other angles, we can clearly see it is one of two black tubular handles.
  • What does Jill see in Sam? From her perspective, he comes off as a crazed stalker more than a few times.
    • I think the government either bribed or blackmailed her into seducing him so that they could capture him. It explains her apparent 180 in her reaction to him, where she initially seems repulsed and later suddenly accepts him—albeit passively and without much evident passion.
  • In the YMMV tab it's stated that Gilliam is surprised by the American Right's liking of this film, as he meant the film to be a satire on right-wing values. This might make sense for traditionally quite big-government Britain, but I thought conservatism in America was more small-government. Gilliam himself is American. Is this a case of Society Marches On, and American conservatism has drifted more to the small-government end than it was when Gilliam was growing up, and in The '80s?
    • The totalitarian government in the film has a distinctly corporate flavor to it, and corporatism was definitely a feature of American conservatism in the '80s.
    • Big government vs small government is a shibboleth that doesn't really mean anything when politicians in America talk about it.
    • The government in Brazil isn't your typical unified, totalitarian regime where the trains (allegedly) run on time, orders and the chain of command is clear and discipline is harsh. Instead, it's a highly-bureaucratic and completely convoluted mess where no one really knows what they're doing, mistakes get made all the time and everyone constantly ducks responsibility. The government of Brazil isn't so much a failure because it's built on the wrong political foundations, but because it's rife with incompetence, nepotism and inefficiency. All of these things can be found on either side of the political spectrum.
    • The satire also loses some steam because of The Horseshoe Effect. Leftists will draw parallels with Nazi Germany whereas right-wingers will compare it to Communist Russia.