In the following review, Wilmington assesses Lynch's use of dark, obsessive, and bizarre visual imagery in Dune, noting that the film as a whole is not necessarily successful.
The filmmaker who tamed "The Elephant Man" undertakes the grandest vision of them all—the realization on the screen of the epic universe created by Frank Herbert.
It doesn’t take long to realize that basically this isn’t a David Lynch movie—it’s Dune. Lynch doesn’t bring a fresh conception to the material; he doesn’t make the story his own. Rather, he tries to apply his talents to Herbert’s conception. He doesn’t conquer this Goliath—he submits to it, as if he thought there was something to be learned from it. He’s being a good boy, a diligent director.
With his film Eraserhead, David Lynch has created what can only be called a surrealistic masterpiece. Uncompromising in style, this black-and-white film is not merely nightmarish: it is a nightmare captured on celluloid.
Not since Shakespeare called for “a muse of fire” in Henry V and Olivier provided the light of an arc-rod projector has there been such an interesting opportunity to examine the relations between film and theater as David Lynch’s The Elephant Man.
The Elephant Man is a very pleasurable surprise. Though I had seen Eraserhead, which is the only other feature directed by David Lynch, and had thought him a true original, I wasn't prepared for the strength he would bring out of understatement.
Some people want to call this art in the postmodern age, but no matter how inflated with esteem Lynch becomes, his art isn’t so great that it transcends political reading or vicious, regressive, conservative meaning.
Imagine The Wizard of Oz with an oversexed witch, gun-toting Munchkins. and love ballads from Elvis Presley, and you’ll get some idea of this erotic hellzapoppin from writer-director David Lynch.
Much of the humor in David Lynch’s reworked fifties crime thriller/horror/gothic film Blue Velvet comes from mundane statements which, when filtered by his personal vision, appear weird, but still oddly familiar.
When you come out of the theatre after seeing David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, you certainly know that you've seen something. You wouldn’t mistake frames from Blue Velvet for frames from any other movie. It’s an anomaly—the work of a genius naif.