Dune by Denis Villeneuve [8/10]

Dune,” a fresh cinematic telling of Frank Herbert’s science-fiction masterpiece published over half a century ago, is surely one of the most visually spectacular movies ever. Shot with sumptuous grace by Greig Fraser, it offers not one blancmange frame. Director and co-scriptwriter Denis Villeneuve, whom I have admired since Arrival, offers us the complex Dune world and all the incredible dramas of the book, in an intelligently laid out storyline that never baffles. Essentially, Dune is the tale of a young heir of an aristocrat, who accompanies his family to a bleak desert world containing one of the all-powerful Empire’s most vital minerals. Battles ensue and the heir and his mother end up throwing their lot in with the indigenous people who have learnt to live in the harsh terrain. A particular hazard is huge sand worms whose cinematic depictions need to be seen to be believed. The acting is consistently strong, highlights being young Timothée Chalamet in the lead role and Javier Bardem as a local. The action sequences are brilliant and Hans Zimmer’s ear-splitting, somber music enhances the mood. Overall, Dune is essential viewing, especially when one considers that it is labelled as Part 1 and only progresses halfway through Herbert’s first book. Let’s hope Parts 2 and onwards roll out quick smart.

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