The film 12 Monkeys failed greatly to live up to the hype one would think follows it. With a slew of highly touted actors and actress, one would think of it as a possible blockbuster hit. It falls short of the potential that seemed to swirl around it. Bruce Willis plays James Cole, a convicted criminal living in a future apocalyptic world. A deadly virus was released to the world in December 1996, and Cole is expected to go back in time and find a possible cure for it before it is spread throughout the world.
The psychological stress that would overcome a person from going back and forth throughout time would be great. Emotions would be so overwhelming, and Bruce Willis failed to portray this stress. He’s become typecasted as an action hero and it is hard to view him in any other role. He was a known actor at the time, but had still yet to shake the run and gun image from the Die Hard movies that brought him to glory. He failed to bring his emotions to the forefront.
The viewer was unable to feel the great emotional stress that would have overwhelmed a character in Cole’s position. Brad Pitt plays Jeffrey Goines, a fellow mental health patient at the institution that Cole is put into. He, unlike Willis, played his role perfectly. He was so deep into his role that the viewer forgets he is watching an actor. The insanity is real, and every aspect of his role is flawless. From his body language to the look in his eyes, the role is acted perfectly.
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It is this aspect of his character, the insanity, which is missing from Willis’s. 12 Monkeys is a psychological thriller trying to play itself off as a generic action movie. By casting Bruce Willis, the production crew was making an effort bring in a demographic of moviegoers that wouldn’t normally have gone to see the movie. They tried to please too many people and as a result ended up disappointing a majority of their viewers. The ending of the movie was perfect—for a psychological thriller.