Dune ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali
Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive. Screenings at Chiswick Cinema Friday 12 – Thursday 18 November 2021
I’ve been debating with myself ever since leaving the cinema whether this was a four or five star film.
Technically it’s certainly one of the most impressive films I’ve seen in a long, long time: it’s visually stunning, the special effects are seamless and the soundtrack is so immersive and huge it’s hard not to be impressed by it all. However, while the film-maker inside me was awestruck by its impeccable look and its epic gravitas (My God, it looked and sounded AMAZING on the Imax screen), the other side of me, the casual moviegoer, was finding it hard to fall in love with it, despite all the good things going for it and even despite the ultra-charismatic Timothée Chalamet, who can hardly do any wrong in my book.
There’s something about Denis Villeneuve’s film-making which leaves me emotionally uninvolved (I have to say, that the same had happened to me with his previous Arrival and Blade Runner 2049). Interestingly even the deaths of some of the characters (no spoilers, don’t worry) left me slightly cold. Whether the script, or the muted palette of colours, or even Zimmer’s bombastic, experimental and unique score contributed to that feeling I’m not sure, but the result is “admiration” more than “love”.
I have faded memories of Lynch’s version from the 80s, but I do remember watching it and being bored to death… So knowing that this version was a 155 minutes long, gave me a certain apprehension. And maybe yes, this version too is a little bit slow in places, especially when you think about the fact that in two and a half hours we’re not even getting an actual ending (that’s no spoiler, since the film has a big caption right at the start that says “part 1”), I’m pretty sure they could have certainly shaved off 15 minutes without anyone actually noticing. But one may argue that the mood Villeneuve creates is one of the strengths of the film.
This is no Star Wars, for sure, though many of the elements that inspired George Lucas are all here (a force that can control minds, duels with swords, dusty and desert planets, an evil emperor… and so on), this is more “Lawrence of Arabia in Space (Surely I can’t be the only person who says that, but I’m too lazy to check).
So in the end I’ve settled for four stars, but only because I don’t give half stars and because for all the reasons I mentioned above I didn’t feel it quite deserved five … But God it was close!
One thing is sure, when Part 2 comes out, I’ll be there on day one. Hope Villeneuve would have found a way to have a little bit of fun as well, instead of taking himself so seriously.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
Book tickets to watch this at Chiswick Cinema here: chiswickcinema.co.uk
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