Dune opens at 78th Venice Film Festival

By Moira Jean Sullivan

The opening moments of DUNE are about a planet whose spices have been mined for a greedy mercenary foreign power. The invaders of Arrakis or Dune can't help but evoke the might of the present Russian territorial invasion. The spices allow people to see into the future with their deep blue eyes and communicate with their mind. Humans have extraordinary powers of slow motion and the patriarchal tribe Fremens learn to survive in the desert full of huge sandworms.

Dune directed and co-written by French-Canadian helmer Denis Villeneuve premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Villeneuve's films are mythic, bold and cathartic. He made Sicario (2015) and Arrival (2016) and brought his production designer Patrice Vermette, to Dune.

Dune is set in the future of 10,191 AG with gargantuan halls and mammoth spacecraft and water craft, made of impenetrable materials with legions of soldiers. The architectural landscape looks part Blade Runner Tyrell Corporation and part Sumerian and Egyptian ruins.

David Lunch had a go at the project in 1984 based on the 1965 novel by sci fi writer Frank Herbert after some limited success with The Elephant Man (1980) and Eraser Head (1977). The commercial failure of the film starring Kyle McLaughlin, Francesca Annis and Sting set Lynch back at square one for big budget vehicles but he does work well with compact gothic productions.

Charlotte Rampling plays Reverend Mother Mohiam of the Ben Gesserit, a matriarchal order of the future and the teacher of Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), mother of Paul Atreidas (Timotée Chalamet). Jessica was supposed to have a daughter but Paul is supposed to be "the one" with a mind uniting time and space. His father is Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac). The cast of the film looks like a Hollywood backlot with actors such as Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardam and Stellan Skarsgård, though the Swedish actor is virtually unrecognisable as the obese Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, a name of Slavic and Finnish origin

The haunting music score by Hans Zimmer is an endless, chilling reverberating symphonic production with some beguiling female choir ensembles. Dune is a film to be experienced and the special effects of the film and art direction are outstanding. To spend any time on the plot would take away from this cinematic experience which Dune promises to the spectator.

© 2022 - Moira Jean Sullivan - Air Date: 03/09/22
Movie Magazine International