Eureka (UK-US, 1983)

Overblown drama?

Overblown drama?

British director Nic Roeg made the classic Don’t Look Now (1973) and followed up with a few interesting films. At the time I thought Eureka was one of them; now… I barely got to the end. What happened?

Films obviously can ‘date’; what looks fresh can go stale in comparison with films that follow. The social context changes, hence the idea of ‘timeless’ classics that are ‘universal’ and so speak to any age (and, allegedly, culture), and so the film’s relevance can be lost. The spectator changes, so 26 years later I am not the same person as the student-Nick Lacey in the early ’80s. As a youngster, for those with an open mind at least, you have an enormous amount of films to get through (all those Hitchcocks you haven’t seen!) so there’s a ‘cornucopia of delights’. Critical judgement is unhoned (though not necessarily wrong).

Having watched most of those ‘delights’, 20 years later, my minds full of movies (and 26 years of life) and so what seemed brilliant may now look irrelevant. Why’s Eureka crap now? I find the ’70s’ predilection for the zoom irritating (yes, I know this film was made a decade later), it simply draws attention to the filmmaking (but not in a Brechtian way) and the moral of the tale (greed is soulless) trite. So, maybe, it’s combination: the film style’s dated and the simple (if true) moral, while attractive to a youngster, has been seen too many times by an oldster.

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