Binge Watch: Denis Villenenuve

One of the biggest films of the year is the re-make of Dune, which opens in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, October 22. It’s not the first time Dune has been adapted into a film. The first time was in the 1980s by director David Lynch. In honor of the big opening, I’m looking at the directors who’ve taken a swing at Dune. Last week, that was David Lynch films. This week, it’s Denis Villeneuve films.

Without further ado, here’s a look at five classic Villeneuve films! Films appear in chronological order.

Prisoners (2013)
It turns out 2013 was a big year for Villeneuve, who released a pair of English-language releases that put him on the map. Prisoners has a great cast, led by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s an interesting film but sometimes a difficult one. It has legions of passionate fans, but I just thought it was OK. Still, you can see some of his touch as a director.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Enemy (2013)
Gyllenhaal takes the lead in this other 2013 release from Villeneuve, based on the novel from José Saramago. Gyllenhaal plays a dual role as two identical men whose paths cross. There are some interesting visuals here. I didn’t love the film, but it’s one that sticks with you. Again, you see the talent in Villeneuve’s direction.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Sicario (2014)
: I love this film, I can’t lie. This one sees Emily Blunt as FBI agent paired with a CIA Contractor (Josh Brolin) and his assassin (Benicio del Toro) to battle a cartel. This one has a beautiful style and some fantastic performances. The sequence as Blunt’s convoy reaches the border crossing is one of my favorites on film. This was a great and under-rated gem.

Rating: 4 out of 4.

Arrival (2016)
Speaking of an under-rated gem, Arrival is a film that I’ve grown to love more and more over time. It’s ostensibly about aliens arriving on earth, and the scientists (Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner) who make contact. But this story is much more complex, with a searing emotional beauty at the close of it that asks some hard questions about life. This has become one of my favorite films of all time.

Rating: 4 out of 4.

Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)
Villeneuve had quite a run here, ending with the long-awaited follow up to Blade Runner. While Ryan Gosling takes the lead role in a story that takes place 30 years after the original we got a supporting performance from original star Harrison Ford. This one had a breath-taking visual style but the story doesn’t always hold up. Still, it’s a fascinating watch.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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