Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Lynch's Dune a Fiasco? I Think Not.

A.V. Club writer Nathan Rabin,  in his column My Year of Flops,  has skewered David Lynch's Dune movie as "comically convoluted" and "exhausting from the get-go".  Going further, using the columns motif of labeling flops either: Failure, Fiasco, or Secret Success he chooses the most damning tag 'Fiasco' for the film.   I'll be the first to admit the film is flawed but how anyone could label such a visual feast a Fiasco is beyond me.

Furthermore, complaining that a Lynch movie is 'exhausting' or 'convoluted' is like complaining a Hitchcock movie is 'tense', a Jarmusch film is 'quiet' or A Scorsese picture is  'violent'.   Those descriptions embody the aesthetic choices of the directors.  Has Rabin seen Mullholland Drive?  Talk about exhausting and convoluted.

As a kid when I first saw the movie I admit I was very disappointed.  Its departure from the novel annoyed me to no end. I still don't understand the 'weirding modules/wielding modules/whatever they're called' but I now just sort of ignore them and enjoy the spectacle.

Over the years I've watched the film numerous times and the visual elements and the alien cultural and political intrigue keep drawing me back in.  Some credit certainly goes to Herbert for creating an interesting world but Lynch and his team did an amazing job bring his world to life.  The technical achievement alone is worthy of respect.  Even compared to the Star Wars Prequels with use of modern CGI techniques, Dune looks good.

Also, It's not a crime for a film to be cryptic and confusing.  I mentioned Mullholland Drive earlier, it is my favorite Lynch film and it is totally impenetrable on first viewing.  Dune is like that.  It's a film that takes effort.   Some of the greatest Sci-Fi films: 2001, Solaris (Russian) have been the same way.  Dune may not be in their league but it's close.

A fiasco?  No way.


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