Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Premiere’s at 78th Venice Film Festival: Movie Review
Written by: Staff
Frank Herbert’s iconic 1965 novel has had a tumultuous journey to the big screen with the first live action adaptation of the source material, directed by the iconic David Lynch, failing spectacularly. Enter Denis Villeneuve, fresh off his work on the Blade Runner sequel that garnered him much critical acclaim. A fan of the book since his childhood, Villeneuve had always dreamt about bringing the adventure to the big screen in a proper way and it appears that he has hit a home run with Dune at the 78th Venice Film Festival. The audience rose to their feet with eight minutes of thunderous applause at the film screening. Make no mistake, Dune (2021) is a sprawling and genre bending epic with thrilling action sequences and stunning costume design. Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts bring the source material to life diligently, translating the core tenet of the book to screen pretty much flawlessly. While many have considered the novel to be unfilmable, it is clear that Villeneuve has taken such detractors to task. The herculean filmmaker, who has already proved his naysayers wrong with a Blade Runner sequel that was (against all odds) better than the original, goes all-in here, resulting in a beautiful and poignant film that may be his best work yet.
In addition, Greig Fraser’s crisp cinematography further elevates the picture, capturing the unforgiving, dusty setting of the novel with a flair that can only be described as magical. From epic, sweeping shots of sand monsters to dimly lit interiors where the politics and disagreements of different tribes are played out, the film looks and feels stunning, a testament to the technical team whose audio visual wizardry made our jaws drop with awe and wonder. Arthouse darling Timothy Chamalet leads a blockbuster for the first time, delivering a solid performance as Paul Atreides, the reluctant protagonist entrusted with the protection of a highly prized artifact. Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Zendaya also bring credence to their characters, melding seamlessly into the story. Balancing such a big cast of top level talent is always tricky but Villeneuve and company somehow manage to pull it off. Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho also shines and his signature charisma and weighty screen presence makes his character one of the more memorable ones.
There is no other way to say this, Dune (2021) does indeed manage to do its complex source material justice. A proper old fashioned blockbuster that has become a rare occurrence today in a landscape full of superheroes and fast cars, Dune is right up there with James Cameron’s Avatar as a film that will become part of the popular culture in the years to come. With fantastic performances and equally amazing VFX heavy sequences, the film is an experience that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen imaginable. Villeneuve has been a cinematic force to be reckoned with for quite some time now and Dune only cements his place as a filmmaker at the top of his form.
The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the most prestigious. The Festival was organised for the first time in 1932, under the auspices of the President of the Biennale, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the sculptor Antonio Maraini, and Luciano De Feo and obtained a great popularity, so as to become an annual event from 1935 onwards. The Venice Film Festival is today a prestigious event that presents every year a selection of world-class films, bringing some of the most successful directors and actors of our time on the red carpet at Lido di Venezia, continuing the tradition that adds the glamour charm that always marked the Festival to a high artistic value program.
For more information on the yearly festival, visit www.labiennale.org
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Photo/Video credit: Warner Bros Pictures