That chaos which surrounds us all, in our day-to-day lives. That same chaos which is behind the individual filters and interpretations we all make constantly to keep surviving inside of it, to keep maintaining our lives, to give us some alleged "feeling of order" that allows us for a kind of "daily schedule"' and gives us the ability to manifest "desires", "goals" and such.
Gilliam's brain keeps wanting to tell us the story of that chaos, in the human sense. It keeps trying, through an uncontrollable urge, to describe to us the chaoticness of the human spirit, the thin line between "reality", "fantasy", "imagination", the lack of border between them, the fact that they are all the same.
The Fisher King, Tideland, The Brothers Grimm, all deal with that. 12 Monkeys also demonstrates the hybridity of 'Time', the existence of past-present-future as a singularity, one inside the other, with no sense of "before" or "after".
Gilliam's cinema is in itself - chaos.
Rarely you will find "symmetry" in his shots, or "classical coherent story telling".
His films are full of crooked shots, bended angles, twisted camera tracks. Rarely you can see the small bubble in the spirit-level of the camera's tripod of his photographer anywhere close to the center of the little circle.
In Zero Theorem, the dealing with chaos is probably most "explicit" than in his other movies. In the futuristic world where the story resides, the main character is employed in a company that puts its goal to "make order and manage the lives of people", down to the sense of telling them what kind of foods they like, or drinks and so on...
In one point in the movie, the hero is assigned to a job where he needs to sit at a computer and "crunch data" (that's what the company's employees do) - to prove the "Zero Theorem" - a theory that states that "Everything is Zero". That chaos is everything.
Like in his other movies, you can also find in this one as well - the reoccurring sub-themes that Gilliam usually deals with: "Big brother", watching your every movement via remote cameras and all sorts of "bans", and relationships between the sexes - in the sense of a man and woman connecting to deal together with the chaos and trying to make sense of it by the connection with the other.
And, like in all other Gilliam's movies, the hero confronts (this time in a conscious way) - with the ultimate question that thrives inside the head of all Gilliam's main characters,and maybe even inside the head of Gilliam's himself, a question that usually causes them to lose their minds:
"Is it all just in my head?".
A few technical things:
1. The writing credits in this movie are not given to Gilliam, though it is entirely a Terry Gilliam Movie.
2. This movie feels and looks like "what would happen if you let Gilliam make "Brazil" 20 years after", in a good way.
3. The trailer of the movie creates the impression that movie is much less coherent that what it actually is (meaning, contrary to the trailer, the movie itself is more coherent, relatively to a Gilliam movie of-course :)).
4. In my opinion, this is Gilliam's third best movie, after 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing...