Dune  Part Two

Review by Rich Cline | 4.5/5   MUST must see SEE

Dune: Part Two
dir Denis Villeneuve
scr Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts
prd Denis Villeneuve, Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Tanya Lapointe, Patrick McCormick
with Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, Lea Seydoux
release US/UK 1.Mar.24
24/US Warners 2h46

zendaya ferguson bardem
See also:
Dune Part One 2020

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pugh and chalamet
Continuing his bold adaptation of Frank Herbert's epic novel, Denis Villeneuve goes bigger and darker, focussing on a collision of political, ethnic and religious power-plays that involve violent military activity. The filmmaking is spectacular, packed with inventive touches that are rendered with seamless effects work. And the more intense plot gives the actors plenty of heavy material to play, adding a provocatively Shakespearean slant to the saga.
After the Emperor (Walken) betrays his family, Paul (Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Ferguson) go into hiding with the Fremen in the vast deserts of Arrakis, trying to prove their worth as outsiders. Jessica uses her religious prowess to become a spiritual leader, while Paul continues to spark loyalty by living up to prophecies of a promised messiah. Fremen leader Stilgar (Bardem) is a true believer, but Paul's partner Chani (Zendaya) harbours doubts. Then Paul's loyal friend Gurney (Brolin) joins the Fremen war against the monstrous Baron Harkonnen (Skarsgard) and his sadistic nephew Feyd-Rautha (Butler).
Alongside this, the Emperor's strategically minded daughter Irulan (Pugh) is working with the conniving Reverend Mother (Rampling) and a bold spy (Seydoux) to keep their Bene Gesserit order in power. There's also Harkonnen's increasingly frustrated nephew Rabben (Bautista), worried about his survival as Fremen take out yet another of his spice-mining operations. These elements are interweave cleverly in the editing, maintaining powerful momentum as the stakes escalate and characters rise to the challenge. Paul may be on a mission to avenge his late father, but his personal journey adds fire to his motivation.

Since everyone is grappling with their own desires as they come up against forces they can't control, each actor has plenty to play with here. Chalamet's transformation is the most impressive on-screen, from sullen young man to impassioned leader. And Zendaya's defiant role becomes increasingly central, offering a steely glare in the final shot to tease Part Three. The entire cast brings complexity and nuance that continually reveal underlying motives, even when engulfed in gorgeous costumes. For his snaky psychotic monochrome oddness, Butler is the scene-stealer.

Films don't get much more robust than this, with sweeping visuals, inventive designs and bone-rattling sound layered in among resonant themes and provocative ideas. So even if the plot threads become very knotty, and scenes play out with a relentless over-seriousness, Villeneuve is able to continually stimulate our senses, challenge our opinions and prod our imagination. It's a rare blockbuster that has a setting, story and characters that refuse to fall back on simplistic expectations, yet still manage to be thrilling and even exhilarating.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 20.Feb.24

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© 2024 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall