The Elephant Man

Title: The Elephant Man
Year: 1980
Length: 124 minutes
Director: David Lynch
Writers: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren & David Lynch, based on books by Sir Frederick Treves and Ashley Montagu
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones
Music: John Morris (and non-original music)
Distinctions: Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Hurt), Best Score, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Editing; currently #91 on IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: a surgeon takes an interest in a deformed man
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Good.
Story: Indifferent. It wanders a lot, with large episodes that seem to have little to do with what I saw as the story.
Characters: Indifferent.
Dialog: Good.
Pacing: Good.
Cinematography: Indifferent. If a film as late as 1980 is using black-and-white, I expect them to really use it. It’s kind of disappointing to find that the cinematography would probably have looked better in color, especially considering that visuals are Lynch’s strong suit.
Special effects/design: Good. Honestly, the Elephant Man make-up kind of looks like crap to me. His face can’t move, you can’t see his eyes – why not save John Hurt the 20-hour days and just put a rubber mask on him? All the sets and costumes are great, though.
Acting: Great. We all love John Hurt, but dude: Anthony Hopkins manages to command our attention every second he’s on screen, while playing one of the most boringly-written characters ever.
Music: Great.
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay). There are a few very emotional scenes that make it worth seeing. But I’m still unconvinced that David Lynch doesn’t suck.
Objective Rating: 7/10 (Pretty good) 2.8/4 (Good).


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