Dan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Most Anticipated Movies video HERE.
Before I get into this review, I just wanted to say that I have a “personal” account where I don’t plug YouTube or mass-follow, and log every film I watch rather than just the ones I want to talk about. DanHobson_ if you give a shit.
I always know a film is truly great when I struggle to craft my experience with it into words. This is such an occasion…
You’ll all have watched, read or heard Dune reviews by now, so there’s not a lot I can say that won’t just be contributing to the echo chamber of how masterful this is technically - but another sure-fire sign for me that a film is particularly brilliant (and I don’t think I’ve experienced this since Denis’ last film, Blade Runner 2049), is when I fall into the cinema screen, utterly transported, and re-emerge when the credits roll. Villeneuve is a master at this, and I suspect it boils down to a number of factors, all of which stem from his impeccable direction. Whether it’s the immersive atmosphere he builds, the seamless worlds he creates, or the fact that he’s one of the few directors today whose ego stays out of the film, so you’re not constantly being reminded of the film you’re watching (The French Dispatch would be a good example of this; I liked the film but was constantly aware I was watching it, precisely because of how stylised and flashy the whole thing constantly was).
Hans Zimmer’s score is pretty incredible, though I’m not sure I agree with those claiming it to be his best ever. I think his work on Nolan’s films (particularly Interstellar and Dunkirk) was more impressive. Still, his score manages to be bombastic without crossing the line into obnoxious.
The world-building and epic scope are what impress me most here; not only the flawless visual effects, otherworldly lore and impeccable production design, but the attention to detail in the smaller aspects of this imagining of the future.
I could go on and on about Dune, but you already knew how great this would be and if this cast, crew and source material aren’t going to convince you to watch it, then I sure as hell aren’t.
My only slight grievance with this (again, contributing to the echo chamber) is that it doesn’t tell a complete story. But it’s not supposed to, and I personally felt as though Part 1 gave me enough to feel satisfied until Part 2 is released (2023 baby!).
Performances are great across the board (particularly Timothee’s “hand in the box” scene), cinematography looks fucking gorgeous, and I - someone for whom this was my first exposure to the Duniverse - found it surprisingly easy to follow (seeing it 3 times helps).
Also, despite its 2 and a half hour runtime, I could’ve honestly watched the second half of this story without a break in between. It was the rare kind of film I found myself willing not to end. Enjoyed it from start to finish, never found myself getting bored and was always in awe at the talent on display.
And to those who say it’s an “empty spectacle,” I respectfully disagree. Okay, I didn’t tear up at any point, but there were a few scenes I thought were particularly poignant. Sick villain too.