Dune ★★★★★

“A great man doesn’t seek to lead. He’s called to it, and he answers.”

Those of you who know me, know by now that Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is not just my favourite film of the year, but now also one of my all-time favourites, but seriously, it’s like there’s always more to implore in this film’s layers and depths, adapted from the very own layered complexities and depths of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi classic.

There are many visual cues especially that I’ve picked up on this third watch in IMAX, but out of everything l’ve relived through the experiential journey of this film, one thing that is most commanding to me is the vivid, nuanced nature of both Timothée and Rebecca’s performances as Paul and Jessica.

Out of nowhere to bring this up right now perhaps, but both their performances here feel reminiscent of some of Al Pacino’s best roles; the Timothée comparisons have been around for awhile - and I do actually see a lot of similarity in their dedicated and commanding acting styles - Rebecca warrants the same striking comparisons, which this film has made me realise also applies to her other works.

Reminiscent of Pacino’s best moments, their use of their eyes in acting play a dominant role; the way in which the two utilise their eyes and apply it to their acting is commanding and evocative. I mean, they are the two best performers in Dune, the two arguable leads as well (both in novel and film), and their acting alone is just beautifully vulnerable, truthful and fully in touch with what they mean to convey; some of the best performances, with an emotional and operatic grandiosity and magnitude to them.

But focusing on how well they utilise their eyes in their acting, both actors demand authority and emotion through just their eyes and its movement, which does often pull me back to greatness of Pacino’s acting in The Godfather, like the remarkably tense scene in the restaurant right before Michael has to go through with one of the most drastic actions of his life. There’s so much command in his eyes, and similar I felt that here throughout the film with Paul and Jessica, and just how subtly arresting they were.

I also just want to quickly mention the commanding presence of Benjamin Clementine as the Herald of The Change, right at the beginning. It’s essentially a cameo from the musician, but for the minute or two that he is on-screen, his towering and sturdy presence simply hovers like an impending omen of premonition for the future of House of Atreides.

Another final mention, but I really think people aren’t giving enough praise for Babs Olusanmokun‘s Jamis, who isn’t in the film for long but does appear quite prophetically through visions and dreams Paul has through the film of the Fremen. He has a menacing, solemn aura to him once we actually meet him, but in Paul’s visions of him, there’s a poetic nature to him, still solemn as we later discover him to be, but earnest in how he delivers his advices. Okay, final mention, I promise, but I think Chang Chen is lovely as Dr. Yueh, especially how he delivers his lines.

Go support this in cinemas, but if you don’t feel safe, support it on streaming via HBO Max, and get us that Dune: Part Two sequel. It’s not just a must, it’s a need!

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