The machinery of repression never clattered with such goofy efficiency, never crushed a naive soul with such Rube Goldberg ruthlessness, as in Gilliam’s complex comic fantasia. A mild-minded bureaucrat (Jonathan Pryce) gets run through a police state’s inner workings, like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, while being manipulated by an insurgent (Robert De Niro) who flies into his life like a deranged Douglas Fairbanks. Gilliam, the Monty Python animator whose script here had contributions from Tom Stoppard, makes unique films —madly, cannily extravagant, with a tone as dark as Jonathan Swift’s —which may be one reason he gets to make so few of them. This satire of totalitarianism came out the year after 1984, and almost didn’t surface at all, in anything like its maker’s version. (A happy ending for a Terry Gilliam film? Now who’s mad?) A public brawl with Universal Studios resulted in the film’s liberation. Thus DVD connoisseurs can savor the director’s capacious vision of post-industrial hell: part futurist, part retro and, for any office worker close to despair, very Right Now.