Capsule review of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival

Dune. 2021

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
With Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Chang Chen, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling, Babs Olusanmokun and Benjamin Clémentine


Featured adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family charged with protecting the galaxy’s most precious possession and most vital part.


Dune is a visual stunner with an appropriate epic score, whether it’s from sleek metal armor to sweeping landscapes (there’s a jaw-dropping wide shot of characters trying to outrun a sandworm) to all-out war that breaks out during the third act (accompanied by an acrobatic melee combat which is a splendor to see).

On Caladan, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet, showing off new acting chops as the quiet guy unsure if he ever wants to succeed his father as political leader and battle general, wondering admirably if anything is changing. really under different and so-called enhanced leadership) trains with his mother Lady Jessica Atreides (an empowered Rebecca Ferguson), a member of the Bene Gesserit, a fraternity embracing the supernatural. Specifically, Jessica is teaching Paul an otherworldly vocal power that works as instant persuasion to do whatever is ordered. Paul also undergoes more traditional preparation, such as fencing sparring with Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck (a streak that allows the flashy touch of blue and red illuminations to the body, signaling protection or fatal injury) and Jason’s Duncan Idaho. Momoa (effortlessly the most charismatic of the bunch), who also doubles as a close friend.

Again, it’s also dazzlingly constructed with multiple combat sequences, aerial maneuvers, innovative gear, and wonderful views that elevate the familiarity and outdated tropes one can find. Dune is immensely watchable and feels like the first half of something much more epic that could be considered an exceptional sci-fi journey for a hero.


Tickets can be purchased here. Currently tickets are sold out, but keep checking in case more are available

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]

Darcy J. Skinner

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