Sunday, January 24, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 1984
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Everett McGill, Kenneth McMillan, Sian Phillips, Sean Young, Richard Jordan, Dean Stockwell, Patrick Stewart, Max Von Sydow, Silvana Mangano, Jose Ferrer, Alicia Witt, Linda Hunt, Virginia Madsen, Freddie Jones, Sting, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance, Jurgen Prochnow, Leonardo Cimino, Paul Smith, Judd Omen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Artist and Director David Lynch followed his celebrated "The Elephant Man", with the adaptation of the cult novel "Dune" by Frank Herbert. The shooting and post production of this film have been widely reported and discussed, and to this day, David Lynch doesn't acknowledge the final product as a film of his own, due to many of the forced edits and compromises the studio and financiers forced upon him. The film takes place in the year 10191, when all planets of the known Universe are under the command of an Emperor. The most important commodity during these times is a Spice "Melange" which has the power to extend life, expand consciousness among other powers. The spice originates from the desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune. This planet is inhabited by a tribe known as Fremen, and by giant worms which protect the harvesting of the spice. The tribe has a prophecy of a man who will lead them to freedom. The interest in controlling the Spice has many realms playing political games. Two families in particular, the Atreides and the Harkonnens, fight one another for sole control of the Melange mining operations. The Atreides family is betrayed and falls prey to the Harkonnens, however the oldest son Paul, and his mother Lady Jessica, manage to flee, due to their telepathic powers. As they find unexpected allies in the Fremen, Paul emerges as their leader and the savior they've long prophesied. 
"Dune" is the first tome in a series of 6 written by Frank Herbert, with the first one having originally been published in 1965. It's a complex tale of politics, power, rivalries, faith, families, with multiple players all aiming to control the Spice and ultimately gaining power over the entire Universe. David Lynch manages to capture much of the spirit of the novel, and his visual style and unique point of view, still come across in the way he defines some of the key players in the narrative, particular the Harkonnens and the Atreides families. The film falters in such aspects as introducing many characters and sub-plots, which appear and suddenly are never accounted for again, while the characterization of some characters is very limited, lacking dimension to make them more visible and ultimately impactful. Ultimately it's a film with such a rich source to work with, and for the most part, David Lynch is successful in establishing that Universe. Sadly all the narrations to explain and propel the narrative forward, fail to capture the richness of what the film should really be about, and the characters for the most part are simply too unidimensional. The cast tries their best with their material, with Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Sian Phillips, Kenneth McMillan and Patrick Stewart, all creating memorable performances. The cinematography from the late Freddie Francis is fantastic, as is the production design from Anthony Masters. While not on par with the excellence of most of his films, this is still a feature worth watching and enjoying, from a truly unique voice in cinema.