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Here's The Most Mind-Blowing Theory About Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys

We’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of Twelve Monkeys, still one of the best time-travel movies. But we’re only just beginning to get to the bottom of what’s really going on in this film. There’s one wild, tantalizing theory that could explain Cole’s time-travel and the plague—watch us try to make sense of it!


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Makes sense to me. The whole film is a gigantic closed causal loop. Things are their own origins. Relativity allows for this kind of time travel into the past. You can’t change the past, you only become part of the causes that ensure the present you left. It’s an ontological loop. Cole made the world he came from. He is just as much a puppet as we all are.

Some people don’t like time travel stories like this but I love them. Predestination is another closed loop movie about time travel. Arguably it’s even more of a brain melter than 12 Monkeys.