Dune will be remembered as “the best sci-fi film of the decade”, says Chris Nashawaty in Esquire. The year is 10191 and Duke Leto Atreides (a “note-perfect” Oscar Isaac) arrives on the desert world of Arrakis to mine “psychedelically shimmery” spice. His clairvoyant concubine, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and their “Luke Skywalker-type” son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), are in tow. Worms “several football fields long” burst out of the desert. Armadas of gunships with dragonfly wings produce the same “gee-whiz goosebumps” I first felt watching Star Wars. Hans Zimmer’s haunting score feels as enormous as what you’re soaking in. It’s a film of “total sensory grandeur”.
That’s because its director, Denis Villeneuve, is “the blockbuster’s great texturalist”, says Tom Shone in The Sunday Times. In an age of “plastic special effects”, here you can feel every sand grain and gunmetal-grey hunk of battleship. There’s a lot of war, a straightforward desert chase and a creepy bald villain (Stellan Skarsgard) whose “favourite trick is floating in mid-air”. Villeneuve’s films are “a bit like going to church – sombre, overlong, humourless and sometimes exceeding all human understanding”. This one runs for 155 minutes. But they’re also grand and awe-inspiring, which is why this adaptation of Herbert’s “500-page sci-fi door-jammer” works. “I’m hooked.” Bring on part two.
Dune is in cinemas now. Watch a trailer here.
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Scenes from a Marriage
“The sheer hotness” of Scenes from a Marriage’s stars is palpable, says Lucy Mangan in The Guardian. Oscar Isaac (yes, more of him) and Jessica Chastain smoulder. But be warned: Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 original was so powerful a depiction of a failing marriage that it was “blamed for a spike in divorce rates”. This “all killer, no filler” remake might do the same for the pandemic population. “If these gods temporarily descended from Mount Sex Olympus can’t make it work, what chance do any of us have?”
Watch it and you won’t be able to help interrogating your own relationship, says Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph. When a desperate Jonathan (Isaac) insists they can fix things, Mira (Chastain) shoots back: “I’m not attracted to you any more. How do we fix that?” Mira drops the bombshell that she’s having an affair and, in the same breath, asks if Jonathan has picked up her dry-cleaning. But the “contemporary twists” really drag. At one point the couple sit down with a PhD student studying “how evolving gender norms impact marriages”. Snore. After two episodes, “I’m consciously uncoupling”.
Scenes from a Marriage is on Sky Atlantic. Watch a trailer here.