Rating: The Good – 95.5 Genre: Mystery, Thriller Duration: 180 mins Director: David Lynch Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini
David Lynch’s unhinged masterpiece follows the fresh faced Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle Maclachlan) into the dark underbelly of a seemingly idyllic all-American town where he encounters cinema’s most disturbing psycho Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). It all begins with the discovery of a severed ear against the backdrop of Jeffrey’s white-picket fenced suburbia. Where the investigation of that ear takes the curious young Jeffrey is almost impossible to explain for this is a uniquely skewed and powerful analysis of a world that exists just beyond our comfort zone in our subjective unconscious. In telling Jeffrey’s story, Lynch traverses a number of genres from film-noir to romance to outright fantasy but it’s the romance that shines through the strongest in his trademark “eye-of-the-duck” scene. On the technical front, the film represents nothing less than the perfect blend of image and sound with Lynch giving life to the latter like no other film before it or since. Machlachlan is truly outstanding in a role that is admittedly tailor made for him. Laura Dern is equally terrific as Jeffrey’s girl of interest while Dennis Hopper simply redefines the concept of madness on film. Raw cinematic power.
Rating: The Good – 77.1 Genre: Science Fiction Duration: 137 mins Director: David Lynch Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Francesca Annis
David Lynch’s much maligned adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal novel has been criticised by lovers of the book (which, let’s face it, were always going to be difficult to please), those desperately hung up on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doomed adaptation (which, let’s face it, was mouth-watering in its potential), and those who seem to have a mind about as open as the vault door at Fort Knox. However, no matter what your bias or leaning, there’s no denying that Lynch brought a level of abstraction to this version that was startling and in its own way defining. The epic story is one of political intrigue 8,000 years in the future between powerful houses fighting over a planet which holds the key to the most valuable natural resource in the known universe. Kyle MacLachlan plays the prince of one of these houses who must realise his destiny on this strange planet and he is surrounded by a host of quirky characters played by equally quirky performers. This film is probably unlike anything you will have ever seen and the sheer breadth of its unfamiliarity will leave you disorientated and at times deeply uncomfortable. And of course, for a film set so far in the future that’s exactly the point! The one major criticism that is not levelled often enough against sci-fi films is their failure to give the viewer the impression that what they’re looking at is alien. Dune is a raging triumph of alienation and disorientation. Once you acclimatise to it, however, the film becomes a rather fascinating experience and while cheesy in places (often due to MacLachlan’s bright eyed naivety being dialed a tad high) for the most part it plays out as extremely sophisticated science fiction. Not for the feint willed, but if you’re a student of sci-fi in particular and film in general, Lynch’s Dune is a must see.
Rating: The Good – 68.5 Genre: Science Fiction Duration: 96mins Director: Jack Sholder Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian
Straight up sci-fi thriller built around good old fashioned character construction and solid dialogue, acting, and directing. Kyle Maclachlan stars as an eccentric FBI officer (no wait, give it time) who shows up to help a hot-shot young detective (Michael Nouri) capture an elusive killer who seems to be switching bodies. The scenario is well worn and the production is relatively low budget but there’s a compelling personality to the film. Maclachlan and Nouri are great together and their fluctuating relationship is as equally watchable as the manhunt. Somewhat formulaic and at times over the top, the action is only passable save for the outstanding opening sequence which itself opens in a manner evocative of Carpenter’s classic They Live. There are some goofy and rushed moments such as the scene involving the senator’s address but nice touches sprinkled throughout as well as a morally ambiguous ending ensure The Hidden is well worth a watch by all true Sci-Fi fans.