For Reel

Eraserhead (1977)
July 17, 2017, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Lynch
5 Stars
Eraserhead.jpgAs immediate and revolting as many of the images in Eraserhead are, they perhaps wouldn’t carry the same weight as they do without the film’s brilliant sound design. The film is accompanied by a constant roar—whether be it the wind, the industrial machinery, or the radiator—and each wail, step, and even closing of the lips is heightened with an upsetting sharpness. The effect is so maddening that the audience, just as Henry (Jack Nance) does, takes some comfort within the radiator, where Laurel Near hauntingly sings an oddly soothing lullaby (which, of course, happens to be about the release of death). More than just about any other David Lynch film, the protagonist is a figure the audience can identify with—he recognizes the horrors around him, and Lynch never pulls the rug out from underneath the audience in the way that he will in films like Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. In this way, Eraserhead is oddly a film about a likable everyman in horrifying circumstances, and in that way the film feels as timeless as anything Lynch has done, and yet in its specificity it is wholly of its own world. It is more narratively straight-forward than some admit, and yet it remains a maddening enigma—a work so disarmingly singular that it feels as though it was given to us in a dream.

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