It takes a truly skilled director to respectfully deal with almost sacred source material. Luckily, the cinematic retelling of Frank Herbert’s Dune was left in the highly capable hands of director Denis Villeneuve, who also brought us the thought provoking sci-fi known as Arrival.

If there is one thing that Villeneuve really succeeds with here, it’s definitely exceptional world building. The world of Dune is massive - between multiple political factions, societal and economical influences and all the intricacies of Arrakis the planet itself - there is a lot that Villeneuve had to cover here in one movie. Impressively, he does so without it ever being to the expense of the viewer's patience (or intelligence) as he subtly and gradually weaves in small details that make Frank Herbert's world come to life on screen.

Great acting by Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson.

Another highlight of the film is its mesmerising cinematography. It's been a while since I have been this enthralled by the endless visual delights a movie has to offer. Although the sprawling desert landscapes and city engineering of Arakkis are joys to behold, it actually feels slightly overshadowed by the amazing costume work and special effects applied to some of the movie's more darker figures. In particular, the Harkonnen's Baron is a dreadful creature that feels like it would be right at home in a disturbing horror franchise.

"....the Harkonnen's Baron is a dreadful creature that feels like it would be right at home in a disturbing horror franchise."

From an acting perspective, there isn't much to fault here either. In saying that, there are however only a handful of characters that enjoy enough screen time for them to properly flex their acting muscles - this is of course entirely understandable considering the size of the cast we need to be introduced to. Special mentions go to Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as well as Stellan Skarsgård, who does a brilliant job as the film's central villain.

A truly terrifying performance by Stellan Skarsgård.

Whilst some might criticise the film for its slow pace and detailed-oriented approach, it's important to remind oneself that the first film in such a sprawling epic is tasked with the mammoth responsibility of world building and scene setting. And in that regard, it does a brilliant job that is hard to criticise.

Dune is the first truly impressive sci-fi epic we have had the privilege of seeing in years and because of that, it has to come highly recommend. Truly deserving of an almost perfect score, especially considering its lofty ambitions and how confidently it reaches almost all of them.

Highlight: Any scene with Stellan Skarsgård included. 


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