Eureka (1983)

NICOLAS ROEG

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  /USA, 1983.  , .  Screenplay by , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

is determined to find gold in the Yukon, abandoning his friend in the snow and declaring himself an individual who never made a nickel off anyone else’s sweat.  He eventually achieves his dream, and following the dazzling opening to this strange but rewarding film by Nicolas Roeg, we flash to thirty years later on a gorgeous, private Caribbean island where he now lives happily with wife  and daughter .  He should be happy, but Russell wants to marry handsome and spiritually empty and Hackman disapproves, and a mobster () wants Hackman to sell his island so he can build a giant casino.  Working from a highly unusual script by Paul Mayersberg (who also wrote Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence that year), Roeg directs one of the most original films in his oeuvre of memorable originals, one that changes its pace and, in many ways, its genre at turns that feel shocking but never jarring.  It centres around a contemplation of wealth and the spiritual need for meaning when one seems to have it all, but it doesn’t investigates these matters with any pretence at high philosophy, as happy to indulge in the thrills of violence and mayhem as it does the beauty of Russell and Hauer’s gorgeous, undressed bodies.  Roeg loses a bit of the film’s vigour in the final third, when the story becomes a courtroom drama and puts far more weight on Russell’s shoulders than she can handle, and it’s not possible to know for sure if her melodramatic monologues on the stand are meant to be humorous or not.  Vibrantly photographed by Alex Thomson.

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