Eureka has finally released the film Eureka directed by Nicolas Roeg, puns aside it’s a fascinating addition. Eureka is the climax of Roeg’s extraordinary run of films which stretches back toPerformance which he is co-directed with Douglas Cammell through Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and my personal favourite The Man Who Fell To Earth. Eurkea bombed with critics and audiences alike when it came out in 1983 and even Terry Gilliam claims it was the last film he walked out of.
The film’s first act is undeniable some of the best work of Roeg’s career because it just sizzles. Gene Hackman plays Jack McCann who is hunting for gold and strikes it and the screen literally explodes. McCann strikes it rich and there is a completely out of blue scene of man blowing his brains out early which is one of the most impressive head explosions ever committed to celluloid which gives Cronenberg a run for his money.
The film however completely falls apart at the half way point, McCann becomes increasingly paranoid his daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell) and his son-in-law Claude (Rutger Hauer) are out to steal his wealth. The investors played by Mickey Rourke and Joe Pesci are also out to swindle him. The film gets blogged by family’s drama and an overly long court segment which just goes on and on.
Gene Hackman has rarely been this deranged so his performance alone makes it’s a fascinating watch. The supporting roles are all perfectly fine but Rourke seems completely wasted and Hauer has been much better before and after. The look of the first half is great but since Roeg himself was a cinematographer that’s expected, it was shot by his former camera operator Alex Thomson. It’s an interesting curiosity which predates some of what Paul Thomas Anderson did bigger and better in There Will Be Blood. It however marks the decline in Roeg’s work which would have him making TV movies by the ’90s.
The disc is fairly packed with a Q&A with Nicolas Roeg as a substitute for a audio commentary. The disc also includes newly film interviews with the wonderful Jeremy Thomas, the screenwriter Paul Mayersberg and the film’s editor who should’ve tightened the film’s pacing up considerable. Naturally there is a booklet with new and old writing on the film