Yet if Brazil was always going to be too deadpan to satisfy mass audiences (its idea of a romantic come-on is "care for a little necrophilia?", which is inspired in the context), the completeness of its vision really does creep up on you, given patience and close attention. It's an oddly realistic-seeming sci-fi movie that manages to see several things to come, not least the corporate absurdity of Office Space and the many versions of The Office, but which remains cherishably perverse at heart. You suspect the studio wanted science fiction of scale, to sit alongside The Terminator and Back to the Future; what Gilliam actually delivered was a dystopian fable about the petty frustrations and irritations of modern life. Brazil is second only to Blade Runner, amongst 1980s films, in putting up on screen a world where nothing - not the screwy plumbing, nor the malfunctioning electrics - really functions as it should. This equally applies to the ending, which remains a mess, but amongst the otherwise supremely organised disorganised clutter, there's a wealth of left-of-centre detail that demands multiple viewings to fully absorb: to take but one fifteen-minute segment, you get fresh-air dispensers, men in chemical suits playing volleyball, and kids receiving credit cards as Christmas gifts from shopping-mall Santas. Gilliam junks the utopian ideals of so much sci-fi in favour of a good-humoured pessimism about the direction society was headed in: as time goes by, he reckons here, things don't seem to get any better.
Brazil is available on DVD through Fox, and to stream via Amazon Prime.