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 – 78.5 Genre: Thriller Duration: 114 mins Director: Roger Donadlson Stars: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young
From the opening credits as Maurice Jarre’s tense score accompanies an aerial shot of Washington DC, this film exudes intrigue. Roger Donaldson’s film is a smartly written taut political thriller steeped in that classy 80′s style where character and soft lighting were the order of the day. It stars Kevin Costner as a naval officer assigned to the Pentagon who together with Sean Young (his girlfriend) and Gene Hackman (his boss and Secretary for Defence) becomes involved in a dangerous love triangle that ends up in murder, a cover-up, and a manhunt through the Pentagon.
Costner is at the height of his powers and he adds a sharp intensity to the film through a mixture of his good old boy charm and his nuanced depiction of an ambitious career officer. Young gives a memorable performance as the feisty love interest while Hackman just about steals every scene he features in. Most memorable of all, however, is Will Patton as Hackman’s uncomfortably infatuated if not outright obsessed right-hand man. It’s his relationship with both Costner and Hackman’s characters that ties the plot together and given those relationships are both unique and interesting but in very different ways, it adds an additional air of intrigue to the film.
The audience may stumble across some minor plot-holes from time to time but the fast pace to the plot and great performances paint over any such shortcomings. Though No Way Out technically counts as a remake of the 1948 film-noir The Big Clock (which was more closely based on Kenneth Fearing’s novel), the story is totally re-written in line with the paranoia of the Cold War with the only similarities being the essence of that film’s plot. In fact, in the current climate of mindless and greedily motivated remakes, reboots, and sequels, No Way Out stands as a reminder of what remakes were all about back when they happened once in a blue moon and were artistically motivated reinterpretations.