|“||Information Transit got the wrong man. I got the right man. The wrong one was delivered to me as the right man, I accepted him on good faith as the right man. Was I wrong?||„|
|~ Lint rationalizes torturing and killing the wrong man|
Jack Lint is one of the primary antagonists inTerry Gilliam's 1985 film Brazil. An old friend of protagonist Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), Jack works as a torture specialist for Information Retrieval, a subsection of the Ministry of Information tasked with extracting and recording information from its victims through cruel, unusual, and expensive methods. His official Ministry designation is Officer 412/L(?).
Jack was played by Michael Palin, a friend and collaborator of Gilliam's who also portrayed Luigi Vercoti in several Monty Python sketches, the leader of the Knights Who Say Ni, and the right head of the Three-Headed Giant in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Jack is a middle-aged, well-groomed man with brown hair and handsome features. As with many other characters in the film, he speaks with a British accent.
While torturing, Jack wears a white, knee-length Howie coat that covers most of his body. He obscures his face with a chubby, disproportionate baby mask covered in welts and scratches. When not working, Jack's attire adheres to the movie's 1940s/Film Noir aesthetics; sporting a variety of suits, waistcoats, overcoats, tuxedos, and wide-brimmed hats.
|“||We've always been close, haven't we...well, until this all blows over, just stay away from me."||„|
|~ Jack to Sam|
On the surface, Jack is outwardly friendly and supportive towards Sam, making mostly polite conversation with him throughout the film. Internally, Jack is a conceited, manipulative, and malicious character, traits that come out heavily towards the conclusion. He has a wife and three children, but considers them mere accessories to the advancement of his career; he cannot even remember his children's names. Despite this, Jack's eventual maliciousness towards Sam could be interpreted as less blantant villainy and more a reaction to coming under Ministry scrutiny for helping him earlier in the film, evidenced by Jack's response of "oh, how do you think I feel?" to Sam's frightened plea. Of course, he may be more concerned over his career and Ministry position than any legitimate fear for his or his family's safety. Jack's villainous nature may also be a smaller part of a bigger picture: Brazil deals with themes of surveillance, unchecked bureaucracy, and societal enslavement, meaning the government as a whole could be considered a primary antagonist.
Palin attributes Jack's antagonism as a foil to Sam, describing him as "someone who was everything that Jonathan Pryce's character wasn't: he's stable, he had a family, he was settled, comfortable, hard-working, charming, sociable - and utterly and totally unscrupulous. That was the way we felt we could bring out the evil in Jack Lint."
Jack and Sam run into each other several times throughout the film, establishing early on that they are close friends. When Sam takes a promotion to Information Retrieval in order to find more information on Jill Layton, his love interest, it is revealed that Jack is "Officer 412/L," and apparently the one responsible for torturing/killing Harry Buttle by mistake. Though hesitant, Jack provides Sam with the information on Jill (as well as a new suit), but warns him not to lose the file.
While Jill is executed and Sam is charged with treason for abusing his new position, Jack is assigned to torture Sam. Sam pleads with him, but Jack only berates and lambasts him for getting them both in this situation, subsequently continuing the torture proceedings. In the final scenes of the film, Jack is shot in the back of the head by Archibald Tuttle, as resistance fighters rescue Sam from the torture chamber. This is revealed to be a dream, implying Sam has been lobotomized and detached from reality; Jack and Mr. Helpmann leave him strapped to the torture chair, in blissful insanity.