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Eureka

By Jeff Shannon

Anyone expecting conventional storytelling from director Nicolas Roeg will be disappointed by this tale of fate, wealth, greed, and obsession, but if you're familiar with Roeg's work, you'll know that Eureka deserves a place among such equally puzzling Roeg films as Walkabout, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Insignificance. Indeed, with its esteemed cast, international locations, and enough thematic ambition to keep things vitally intriguing, Eureka qualifies as Roeg's last grand effort; after this, Roeg settled for more workmanlike projects, abandoning the kind of daring (if not altogether successful) filmmaking that Eureka represents.

This is ostensibly the story of a Klondike prospector (Gene Hackman) who strikes it rich, only to fear that his daughter (played by Roeg's wife, Theresa Russell) and son-in-law (Rutger Hauer) are scheming not only for his wealth but his very soul. Greedy investors (Joe Pesci, Mickey Rourke) are also swooping down for Hackman's fortune, but this is no overblown episode of Dallas or Dynasty. In Roeg's hands--and through the lens of Roeg's mesmerizing camera--Eureka explores Hackman's connection to unexplained supernatural forces, to nature itself, and perhaps even to the continuum of the universe. Which is to say, this is a confounding and convoluted film by any "normal" standard, and by any measure it can hardly be considered a masterpiece. And yet, those mysterious forces are oddly compelling, and Roeg focuses their energy in this strange but beautiful film, reminding us why respected actors would readily contribute to his vision.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Nicolas Roeg

Stars: Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Jane Lapotaire, Ed Lauter, Mickey Rourke, Joe Pesci, Corin Redgrave

Released: August 14, 1981

Availability: DVD VHS


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