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Blu-ray & DVD Review

DVD cover

Eureka (1983)
(Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)


Starring: Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Mickey Rourke and Joe Pesci
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £17.95 (Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 21 March 2016

Jack McCann spends a large part of his life hunting for gold in snow and ice, until he eventually strikes it rich, the culmination of all he was working for. But in later years his wealth brings him no comfort as he suspects that his daughter and her husband are scheming to rob him of his wealth. And, at the edges of his life, unscrupulous investors also plan to do the same thing...

Eureka (1983. 2 hrs, 09 min, 34 sec) is a drama, directed by Nicolas Roeg who also directed Walkabout (1971), Don't Look Now (1973) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). It shares some elements with his previous work, including the desire not to spoon feel his audience - watching a Roeg film is not a passive pastime. The film is loosely based on the real life murder of Harry Oakes in 1943.

In the first half hour of the film we witness Jack (Gene Hackman) fight tooth and nail both to survive and to win his wealth, which of course he does. The rest of the film explores what happens to the rest of your life when you have had that moment of triumph, that moment when you feel most alive, what happens when you cannot recapture that?

In his present, Jack has a daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell) who is enamoured by the good looking Claude Maillot Van Horn (Rutger Hauer) back in the states Mayakofsky (Joe Pesci) and Aurelio D'Amato (Mickey Rourke) are planning to get their own piece of Jack’s fortune, a fortune which brings him little pleasure. His wife, Helen (Jane Lapotaire) drinks too much and longs for the man he once was, before he found the gold and Jack sits on his fantasy Island wondering why it never snows, a longing for his past.

On one level, like his previous films, Eureka is a visual feast, not unusual for a man who worked as the cinematographer on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and Performance (1970). His work as a director has continually explored the notion of the universe conspiring to move the characters in a particular direction. All this and more are here.

The film is generally underrated, but it fits perfectly into the trajectory of his previous work, with themes of greed, power and unhappiness. Here he continues to juxtapose people and images in an imaginative way to tell his story.

You get three versions of the film. The first is a straight run-through, we're not counting the optional full length commentary. Secondly, you can play it with English SDH, that’s subtitles to you and me and thirdly and more weirdly you can watch the film with only the music and added noises which leaves you with no vocal track and a very unsettling watch.

The film also contains a number of extras, Jeremy Thomas (13 min, 34 sec) has the producer talking about how the film came about and the problems that it ran into, Paul Meyerberg (53 min, 14 sec) who was the writer on the picture giving his account of the film. Tony Lawson (13 min, 06 sec) editor on the film adds his recollections. The disc finished with the theatrical trailer (2 min, 42 sec).

As previously mentioned this is a much underrated film, for thought provoking material it is up there with The Man Who Fell to Earth and Don’t Look Now, added to that a very reasonable set of extras and the DVD is a fine addition to any film lover's collection.


Charles Packer

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