The Zero Theorem (2014)

How is everyone getting rich but me when we are all nothing but worker bees? Only proving that it’s all for nothing can you find out!

In a highly fluorescent future, Qohen Leth, Played by Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) is a mentally unstable loner. A gifted computer programmer and mathematician, he constantly is searching for the meaning of life and believes this will be delivered to him via a phone call. Qohen becomes increasingly anxious at work and increasingly fearful that he will miss this phone call; requesting a medical evaluation so that he may be declared as disabled and thus able to work from home.

Company doctors declare that Qohen is perfectly able to work; however, these doctors express concerns over his mental health and refer him to “Dr-Shrink ROM” a digital psychiatrist. Qohen instead fleas looking for management and stumbles into a strange psychedelic orgy party, here he asks management if he can work from home. An eccentric gentleman named Joby, played by David Thewlis (War Horse, The Theory of Everything) persuades Qohen to stay at the party where he meets Bainsley, played by Mélanie Thierry (Back in Crime, Pour Une Femme).

Qohen’s request is eventually agreed by management, despite being classed as “quite insane” and Qohen is tasked with solving the “Zero Theorem” a mysterious mathematical formula which is the result of all data entities, the solving of this theorem will reveal the answers that Qohen has been searching for all his life. Becoming completely withdrawn from the world around him as he works at this task, his mental health begins to spiral down with multiple conditions being diagnosed by his AI “Shrink ROM”.

Qohen begins experiencing nightmares and visions of standing before a huge black hole. This declining mental health and interludes of Virtual Reality, where he relaxes on a beach with Bainsley, push Qohen deeper to understanding the meaning of the Zero Theorem and ultimately, his own life. The shocking truth of what the zero theorem means is just within reach but by the time Qohen discovers its true meaning is it too late?

The film is directed by Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas) is well known for his reality distorting works and this story is no different. Viewers will be whisked on an exciting journey where normality is suspended and the all-star cast entertain throughout. The direction and story are excellently put together to bring a tale of futuristic dystopia together with the question that persists with many of us. What is the meaning of life? So many films have done this style before but none as well as Zero Theorem which perfectly captures the essence of questioning and shows how blurred the line between genius and insanity is.

The mind-bending script is a perfect allegory for what it is to be human, always waiting on something and always searching for a purpose while thinking everybody else has it better. This is an engrossing and entertaining tale about the human condition shot through a helter-skelter of neon clothes and plastic smiles covering the real identity of what we desire most.