Dune – David Lynch (film review)

As part of the current Lynch-fest engulfing my televisual habits, I ventured to the BFI in recent weeks to see Dune. The BFI is currently hosting a season of David Lynch films and Dune was perhaps one that resides nearer the barrel bottom than others.


Released in 1984, the science fiction film, written and directed by David Lynch was based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel ‘Dune’. Lynch film favourite Kyle MacLachlan stars as the lead, Paul Atreides opposite baddie Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his side-kick Feyd-Rautha (Sting). Patrick Stewart also appears, giving it the much-needed weight you’d expect of a science fiction production.

The House of Atreides is under threat but is given control of Arrakis, the only source of spice but there’s a big ginger puss-faced enemy to deal with, all with the help of Paul Atreides’ little sister who becomes the age of seven within five minutes. Yes.

The retro 80s film effects give the film a playful retro charm, there’s nothing quite like seeing Agent Cooper ride a giant desert worm with fellow Twin Peaks comrade Ed Hurley (Everitt McGill) to the sound of Eno’s synthy sounds. There is certainly a fistful of fantasy to keep your brain wondering about why this or that happened, the cerebral challenge so characteristic of Lynch that it is offset by a fine chunk of Hollywood pecks – a bronzed Sting getting out of the shower giving the audience a good 10 second view of his then incredibly popular face and body thanks to The Police. He later loses a knife fight against Paul Atreides shortly before a big sheet of rain falls over the desert. It means something but we’re not exactly sure of what.

If you’re looking for period sci-fi film with visuals that are surreal but hastily edited (Lynch was excluded from participating in the final cut) with a script that makes sense to an extent but limited in dialogue, then this one is for you. Probably one for the die-hard science fiction fan.

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