Film Review: The Trial (1962)

Without any flashy effects, The Trial remains the most realistic depiction of a dream that I have ever seen.  If, that is, that Orson Welles meant it to be so.  Although it is not pertaining to the central conflict of the narrative, I constantly juggled the ideas that I had relating to how the film should be received. If it is supposed to have any  applications to everyday life, I must have missed them.

But it is very easy to see how I was fascinated.  The film begins with a short fable narrated by Welles.  The tale is one told by the inhabitants of the world that we are about to visit.  Once we get there, the intrigue from the very beginning carries over to our introduction to Joseph K., played by Anthony Perkins.  The scene begins with Joseph lying alone in his bed.  In any other movie, this would be insignificant, but does Welles mean it as a hint?  Could he have warned us from the start that it is all just a dream?  Dream or not, Joseph never considers the question.  This is real life to him.

We are then gripped by the revealing of a visitor in the bedroom: an inspector whose purpose is to arrest Joseph for an unnamed crime.  It all seems perfectly normal up to that point, but as we see Joseph’s workplace, his friends, and his accusers, his world begins to seem reflective of our dreams…or nightmares.

There is a scene with a wooden shack sitting at the top of a spiral staircase within a brightly lit building.  The police inspector steals Joseph’s clothes.  A man enters a doorway and later exits to discover that the door is now twice as big.  It is really very incredible that The Trial can appear so nonsensical, resembling the films of Bunuel and Lynch, yet still keep a firm grasp on our attention and emotions.

Rating: 5/5

Film Review: Eraserhead (1978)

There is no movie like Eraserhead and no filmmaker like David Lynch.  Lynch’s feature debut is a film of images and sounds, but hardly one of dialogue.  He has created a world that is thoroughly encompassed in shadows and a character that is constantly haunted by nightmares.  But in reality, Henry already lives in a nightmare.

His newly wed wife has left him and he has been forced to recon with their hideously deformed baby.  The room Henry inhabits is inside a dimly lit hotel; this is where the majority of the film occurs.  But between obscure visions and a brooding performance from Jack Nance, viewers will stay occupied and continue to wonder what’s going on.

Lynch’s approach is very much that of a surrealist, and it constantly reminds me of a cross between Bunuel and Burton.  But Bunuel’s films are not this modern and Burton’s mind is too fanciful to make something this repulsive.  Eraserhead, over the years, has become a cult classic.  It demands very specific tastes, but those who find quirky, dark, and graphic horror films savory will be catered well.

So whenever you see a movie such as this one, you can love, despise or admire it.  Eraserhead is certainly not a bad film, but rather a bizarrely unattractive one.  Its message could exist under all of the horror elements as a study of the human conscience.  The baby represents a great sin, and its constant screams ensure that he will never forget his part in it.

Lynch’s film has acquired a large group of dedicated followers since its 1978 release, but it was not to my tastes.  I am of the crowd of admirers, but not the group of loyal lovers.  The vision is fantastic, but I was too repulsed to name it a masterpiece.

Rating: 4/5