Sunday, 17 October 2010

Review Of The Elephant Man.

‘Elephant man’ was a film directed by David Lynch in 1980. It depicts the life of a Joseph Carey Merrick who supposedly suffered from neurofibromatosis type 1 and Proteus syndrome. In essence causing him issues with his health and also causing disfigurement to his body. The film therefore is a brilliant piece of storytelling as it shows John’s triumph over his disadvantage and his ability to become as ordinary as everyone else. As a surgeon rescues John from his ‘side-show freak’ livelihood.

'From his discovery by Dr. Frederick Treves (Hopkins) in a carnival freakshow, to his rehabilitation in the hospital and acceptance into London society, to his ultimate demise by suffocating, John Hurt's vibrant portrayal of Merrick is an emotional tour de force that sheds much light on the man' - Christopher Null

I think Chris hit the nail on the head with this comment as,I won’t lie when watching this story I am immediately touched and filled with emotion as David Lynch does nothing but justice to the story of Mr Merrick. Obviously I can’t suggest this the most emotional movie I have ever watched as other film which have come more recently such as ‘Pursuit Of Happyness’ and (Sadly, considering watching it with every single girl I’ve date)  The Notebook. Nevertheless I believe the film was the start of its tear jerking genre and an unforgettable veteran of it.

What amazed me the most about this beautiful and touching film was it ability to immediately communicate the story with (to use now pre-dated) special effects. As we see the mother face merged with the elephant depicting the image of the elephant man. This is intelligent as the fact that during the Victorian era if was thought that by being scared whilst pregnant by an animal would automatically manipulate the way the embryo would develop to look like that animal.  Furthermore then by keeping hidden the elephant man in shadows and with obstruction left viewers gripped till that memorable scene when the nurse came into give the food to John.

'Anthony Hopkins does wonders with self-doubt and underplaying in an apparently secondary, but actually more complex, role' - Kim Newman

I obviously think that Kim is on the same wave length as myself as the acting is magnificent and the direction from David Lynch is outstanding by showing how John struggled to overcome his problems and face the public. Alongside his doctor and newly found friend ‘Frederick Treves’ (played by Anthony Hopkins) who we as viewers have to figure out as much as himself if he is using John for his own gain or is actually a friend. This was impressive as it opens our eyes to an important question we are faced with. Although we physically look like human being are we mentally? Or are we ourselves monsters, whom prey on those are more unfortunate? All in all are we still capable of discrimination especially to the unknown? By leaving so many question this film immediately stick in are memory as we ask question ourselves and our history.
One of the biggest moment that (brought a tear to my eye) was when Dr. Treves and  Head nurse Kendal argue about the interests of John and how he should or shouldn’t have high rollers coming round to see him. The nurse shows powerful motherly emotions saying she truly cares for John and his best interest. Touching as before she like the other feared him.

'It is conventional to say that Merrick, so hideously misformed that he was exhibited as a sideshow attraction, was courageous. No doubt he was.' - Rodger Edbert

In conclusion, I believe Robert is correct with his comment. this is a true story of a man that suffered that in the beginning was humiliated and laughed at by the Victorian society whilst being a side-show is nothing but courageous and for that reason is a must watch as it depicts the strengths and weakness of a human and how we are affected by the unknown. As well as making yourself are you like the night porter who would humiliate or the Doctor who looked to cure. Still 'powerful' is the one word which will describe this piece as from it a viewer can look further into society and determine at what stage we humans are at.

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