February 26, 2024

REEL | Timothée Chalamet Powers 'Dune: Part Two' – A Spice Empire

"May thy knife chip and shatter!"
Timothée Chalamet Josh Brolin Denis Villeneuve | Dune: Part Two
Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures
Dune: Part Two, the latter half of French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's staggering two-part film adaptation of science-fiction author Frank Herbert's classic 1965 novel, about an interplanetary empire's rebellion, expands the scope and storytelling beyond Part One's ambitious spice opera. Its visionary spectacle makes sense of the thorny, dense literary mythology by cementing it as a groundbreaking cinematic blockbuster saga.

Messianic star Timothée Chalamet as the morally complex Paul evolves his performance as a reluctant leader looking to avenge his father and the House of Atreides against the evil Emperor (Christopher Walken) and his trade conspiracy. Thankfully, an emotional Zendaya as the righteous Chani is given so much more to do than be a native Fremon sidekick. Her performance is filled with power, conflict, and determination in contrast to Rebecca Ferguson's scheming ways as Paul's Bene Gesserit mother, Lady Jessica, as an unlikely antagonist this time around.

A bald Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, the unhinged nephew heir to the House of Harkonnen, is set up to be the big bad, sociopathic villain in opposition to Paul as his bitter familial rival. Dune's veteran cast of returning players, particularly the gruff Josh Brolin and weary Javier Bardem, aid the central performances from Chalamet and Zendaya alongside newcomers Florence Pugh and Léa Seydoux with small but key roles building out Herbert's intergalactic world.

Josh Brolin Denis Villeneuve | Dune: Part Two

Cinematographer Greig Fraser's stunnning, sandy desert visuals illuminate the screen filled with brutalist space architecture and sprawling landscapes. This scenery enchances Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts' layered script as it juggles so many interlocking storylines in its expanded 166-minute running time that's paced to maximize intense moments of violence, action, and war to satisfy audience expectations.

How Villeneuve questions Herbert's own vision by calling out the perils of the (white) saviour narrative through a lingering sense of a Greek tragedy and foreboding sense of doom only makes the seminal story more poignant for contemporary times. How Jessica maniacally sows the seeds of her son as Messiah, stokes religious fundamentalist beliefs, and consolidates her power against empirical tyranny using blind faith says a lot about the text's complicated political machinations.

Villeneuve's breathtaking scope and immersive splendour exceeds its predecessor with some jaw-dropping visual storytelling that fully explores the dense literary material beyond the trappings of interstellar trade politics. Dune: Part Two's astonishing saga emphasizes the heights of the hero's journey through sci-fi genre tropes.

Dune: Part Two screens exclusively on 70mm film at The Park Theatre.

More | YVArcade / Inverse / Polygon / ScreenCrush

0 reactions:

Post a Comment