Denis Villeneuve - Most Famous Canadian Filmmaker. Reviewing his gems after DUNE 2 recent premiere.

Image of Denis Villeneuve

The reviews for Dune: Part Two are out, and they make for spectacular reading if you're a fan of Denis Villeneuve films.

A sequel to the first of what looks set to be an epic three-film series follows protagonist Paul Atreides as he navigates political intrigue and battles for control over the desert planet Arrakis, home to a valuable resource called "spice."

The reviews were glowing - it landed an average score of 8.7 out of 10 on IMDb - the world's most popular and authoritative source for movie ratings - and 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, an aggregation website cited as one of the most trusted measurements of quality for Movies & TV.

Indeed, the consensus from the latter states: "Visually thrilling and narratively epic, Dune: Part Two continues Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of the beloved sci-fi series in spectacular form."

In one of the most epic scenes from the movie, a gladiatorial arena stages an iconic showdown between Harkonnen's sadistically evil Feyd-Rautha and an unnamed Atreides soldier taken by House Harkonnen at the Arena of Barony on Giedi Prime.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser shot the scene in black-and-white infrared. It encapsulates the visual mastery of Villeneuve and his penchant for minimalist but magnificent aesthetics.

His unique style is prominent in some of his other films, which we have determined to rank below.

A quick factoid before we begin - casino topics are one of Villeneuve's favourite themes to explore. He pulls at its thread in several of his movies.

Agree with our selections?

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to the sci-fi classic, Blade Runner.

It has been hailed as one of Villeneuve's best works and follows a new blade runner, Officer K, who discovers a long-buried secret that leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard. The film received five Oscar nominations and won two, including Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins.

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Ana de Armas star as part of an all-star cast.

It uses a dark and moody colour palette to create a futuristic noir atmosphere. The film also uses wide shots, sweeping camera movements, and advanced Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) to capture the vastness of its urban landscapes. These techniques create a captivating overall aesthetic, but one that is different to Dune 2, which relies on the vastness and harshness of the desert environment on Arrakis.

The abandoned Vintage Casino plays a key role in the film. Officer K (played by Ryan Gosling) even spins the roulette wheel—but with no house to bet against in a post-apocalyptic world, it seems frivolous and meaningless, summing up much of the despair felt throughout the movie.

If you are a fan of such an atmosphere, become an officer in Dead or Alive 2 and fight fin the truth!

Arrival (2016)

While Arrival is not a typical Villeneuve film, this science fiction drama explores the concept of language and communication when humanity faces an alien species. The film was praised for its unique storytelling and emotional depth, earning eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

The movie stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, and grossed a worldwide total of $203.4 million at the box office, against a production budget of $47 million.

Arrival is a sensory treat, with cool blue hues creating a sense of mystery and wonder, while in Dune Part Two, warm earth tones evoke a feeling of danger and intensity.

The game Reactoonz 2 proves that encounters with aliens are not even half as scary.

Incendies (2010)

A French-Canadian drama that follows twin siblings who journey to the Middle East to uncover their family's dark past, Incendies is a cult film among Villeneuve fans**.**

The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards and won numerous other awards, solidifying Villeneuve as a rising talent in the film industry.

The film stars Luna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, and Rémy Girard and scooped a total of more than $16 million. It is the only film to have ever won both the Toronto International Fil Festival Award for Best Canadian Film and the Vancouver International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian Film.

In many ways, the production of Incendies versus Dune Part Two demonstrates the growth of Villeneuve's film-making. The former uses static shots and paces itself much more slowly than Dune: Part Two, which has a frenetic feel to it.

Sicario (2015)

Sicario is a crime thriller that tells the story of an idealistic FBI agent who is enlisted by a government task force to bring down a drug cartel in Mexico.

The film received numerous accolades, including three Oscar nominations, and was praised for its intense and gripping storytelling, with renowned British film reviewer Mark Kermode saying: "The film is very, very well directed"

The movie performed well at the Box Office, taking over $80 million against a budget of $30 million.

Are you a fan of this genre? You can try to solve the crime yourself with Cops n Robbers.

Polytechnique (2009)

Chronicling the 1989 Montreal Massacre, where a man targeted and killed female engineering students at the École Polytechnique, it makes for a tough but engrossing watch.

The film received critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of the tragic event and was nominated for numerous awards, including nine Genie awards and the winner of Best Canadian Film from the Toronto Film Critcs Association.

Maxim Gaudette, Sébastien Huberdeau, and Karine Vanasse starred in the film, which Villeneuve claimed to be a tough and challenging subject matter.

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Conclusion

There are some other Villeneuve films that came close to making the cut.

Prisoners, for example, is an incredibly tense and nailbiting thriller that tells the story of a father that would do anything to find his kidnapped child. Starring Hugh Jackman, the film retains a strong rating among critics.

Whatever you think of his work, he will surely go down as one of Canada’s most transformative film figures.

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Lewis Constable
Expert Writer
Staffordshire University
Single Honours Journalism. Expertise in telling stories concisely and accurately. A focus on responsible gambling marketing with an innate and in-depth understanding of compliance in multiple regions.
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Reviewed by Head of Content:
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Last updated on: 02.05.2024

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