Bruce Willis as the Messiah: Human Effort, Salvation and Apocalypticism in Twelve Monkeys

  • Author(s): Frances Flannery Dailey
  • When: 2000-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • Twelve Monkeys (1995) is representative of numerous recent Hollywood films that focus on the theme of the end of the world by drawing on standard apocalyptic motifs from Judaism and Christianity. However, although the formal elements of the film share much with ancient apocalypses, the film desacralizes apocalypticism by replacing divine mediation and salvation with human effort, thus relocating the apocalypse entirely within the sphere of human activity and concern. In the transformation of ancient apocalyptic images, this film serves as a pointed commentary on the usurpation of religion by science, the new modern God.

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