3 February 2004 | Infofreak
David Lynch's most accessible work. A truly remarkable film!
I first watched 'The Elephant Man' over twenty years ago, not long after it was released. It was the first David Lynch movie I ever saw, thought at the time I'd never even heard about 'Eraserhead' and knew nothing about the guy. I was incredibly impressed by the film, as I have been every time I watch it. Eventually I became a big Lynch fan, and could see the similarities between 'Eraserhead' and 'The Elephant Man', both visually and in their use of sound. Apart from that, they are very different movies. 'Eraserhead' still freaks most people out, but 'The Elephant Man' is arguably his most accessible film. It has heart and an emotional impact, something rare in Lynch's movies ('The Straight Story' is another exception). Anthony Hopkins is an actor I've frankly had it up to HERE with, especially after his increasingly hammy Dr. Hannibal Lecter, but boy, is he wonderful here! Probably his finest performance to date. Of course John Hurt is superb too, especially taking into consideration him having to work under pounds of make up. It's hard to fault anybody in the supporting cast, especially John Gielgud and Hannah Gordon, who plays Hopkins wife. Freddie Jones, who Lynch has worked with a few times since, is really evil as Bytes, and the late Michael Elphick ('The Element Of Crime', 'Withnail and I') plays another memorable baddie as the hospital's night porter. 'The Elephant Man' is a remarkable achievement. Lynch doesn't seem to have compromised his unique vision one bit and yet manages to make a genuinely moving drama about one of the screen's most unlikely heroes. I don't throw the term "masterpiece" around lightly but it's difficult not to use that word when describing this truly extraordinary film! Simply one of the best movies I've ever seen.