Tag Archives: John Hurt

Brian’ Review – “The Elephant Man”

In this Oscar-nominated drama based on a true story, physically abnormal John Merrick (John Hurt) endures ostracizing, taunting behavior as a sideshow attraction in mid-19th century England. Despite his horribly disfigured face and body and barely perceptible speech, concerned doctor Frederick Treves (Sir Anthony Hopkins) recognizes Merrick to be highly intelligent and works to save the Elephant Man’s dignity. Directed by David Lynch.

Brian – 10 out of 10

There’s a wonderful moment in this film that completely summed up its meaning to me. John Merrick (The Elephant Man) has been invited by his doctor (played by Anthony Hopkins) to have dinner at his home. His disfigurement, normally met with screams of terror is met with a welcome by his doctor’s wife:


Mrs. Treves: I’m very pleased to meet you, Mr. Merrick.
John Merrick: I’m very pleased…
[John begins to cry]
Dr. Frederick Treves: What is it, John? What’s the matter?
John Merrick: It’s just that I-I’m not used to being treated so well by a beautiful woman…


His disfigurement, for one brief instance, has evaporated and he feels something he has never felt in his entire life: normal.


The Elephant Man is a wonderful, engaging, smart, beautiful, scary, and heartfelt look at a man who is truly more than meets the eye. It was a fitting decision on the part of David Lynch to shoot this in black and white. It shows the black and white, the ying and yang, of good and evil in the human spirit. We are opened to scenes of horrible cruelty towards John Merrick that are never manipulative. There was no emotional music swells or sad pianos playing. It simply presented the situation as a sad commentary on the darkness that can afflict weak men who use others for their own gain. As the film progresses, and John Merrick meets the doctor who cares for him, we start to learn that behind the disfigurement is the soul of a gentile and artistic man that desires only to be loved.


The performances throughout the entire cast are impeccable. But, it’s John Hurt’s turn as the Elephant Man that is pure magic. Through 20 pounds of makeup and prosthetics, he manages to convey every emotion perfectly through his body language and eyes. We are never in the dark as to what he’s feeling and it takes this film from simply flying to soaring. His journey from fear, to mistrust, to love is one of the rarities in movie history that must be seen to be believed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

In the second installment of the two-part conclusion to the überpopular Harry Potter series, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), continue their quest to vanquish the evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) once and for all. Just as things begin to look hopeless for the young wizards, Harry discovers a trio of magical objects that endow him with powers to rival Voldemort’s formidable skills.

Rating: 10 out of 10

I have to give credit to both J.K. Rowling and director David Yates. They were given the almost impossible task of resolving all the plot threads from the first 6 books and 7 movies and make it interesting and fun at the same time. Well, they didn’t just hit a home run but a grand slam. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is not only the best film in the entire Harry Potter series but it’s the best film thus far of 2011. In a way, it’s a bit of a relief considering the first part of Deathly Hallows was such a bore. In many ways, it reminded me of Kill Bill Part 1 and 2 in that the two halves feel like completely different movies. Part 1 had tons of dialogue and superfluous scenes where part 2 does not have one wasted moment. The action, storytelling, direction, acting, and writing are top notch all the way around and the last hour is jaw dropping and powerful. We have watched these characters grow from young kids to young adults and for those that are emotionally invested in the series; you’re the beneficiary of great storytelling. It’s difficult for me to expound without spoilers, so I won’t. All I can say is get to your local theaters and witness fantasy film greatness.

Side note: I saw the film in 3D mainly because of time constraints and it was a complete waste of time visually. I highly recommend a 2D showing if you can see it in that format. It’s cheaper too!

The Plague Dogs

Making a compelling case for animal rights, this disturbing animated feature chronicles the plight of two dogs who become the focus of an intense manhunt after escaping from a research lab where they were subjected to cruel and pointless tests. To keep citizens from capturing or sheltering the canines, authorities lie to the newspapers, claiming that the dogs may be carrying bubonic plague. Celebrity voices include John Hurt and Nigel Hawthorne.

Rating: 8 out of 10

This is one of the hardest movies I’ve watched in a long time. It’s unrelenting in its darkness from the very first scene to the last. This is NOT a film for children, at all. Don’t let the animation fool you.

There are many hard scenes to watch, from animal testing in the lab to seeing two dogs endure brutal weather and conditions as they are hunted down. It’s a simple story of two dogs who escape an animal testing lab and try to survive. But it is brutally honest in the treatment of animals and what dogs would have to go through to survive.

There are so many layers in this film. On the surface it’s an animal rights piece. But dig a little deeper and it’s about humanity, the lack of it, faith, friendship, devotion, and left me questioning what freedom truly is. This movie has stayed with me since I watched it. At first, I thought about giving it a 6 out of 10, but the final scene has been stuck in my head since I watched it. I loved this movie, but it’s not for everyone. After my wife and I watched it, with our new puppy curled up at our feet, my wife turned to me with teary eyes and said, “I never want to watch this movie again. Ever!” I can’t say that I blame her.