“Eraserhead” Review

13 December, 2016

Year of Release: 1977
Director: David Lynch
Screenwriter: David Lynch
Directors of Photography: Herbert Cardwell, Frederick Elmes
Cast: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart

Synopsis: Set in an urban dystopia, Eraserhead depicts one man’s bitter struggle with fatherhood after he impregnates a woman who gives birth to his mutant baby. As the reality of fatherhood sinks in, he begins to experience vivid hallucinations which direct him towards a disfigured lady living inside his radiator.

Eraserhead Review:

A debut masterwork layered with the merciless sounds of big industry, “Eraserhead” is fashioned out of the clay of Lynch’s own fears as he explores the essence of awkwardness, self-doubt, and pure misery in a hauntingly bleak space where a new dad is terrified by his own fertility. As he tries and fails to keep his wormy thoughts at bay, Henry Spencer lets his subconscious get the better of him, visualising his own brain as the substance used to create pencil erasers in a scene indicative of, and prefacing, total meltdown.

Swayed by the visual splendour of silent cinema, “Eraserhead” depicts a world doused in disturbing allusions as an entire mental breakdown plays out in the most horrific and insular manner while Lynch adopts the bizarre musings of European arthouse directors like Truffaut and Antonioni in an attempt to normalise the inconceivable. The movie has a suffocating, smoggy atmosphere, projecting the nightmares of fatherhood through abrasion and bewilderment as a mild-mannered man finds himself unable to care for his own horrendous offspring or nurture his failed marriage.

“Eraserhead” is post-apocalyptic cinema in its purest form. It’s a movie filled with damaged characters set in a barely habitable space where the presence of a deformed baby is plausible in the inferred aftermath of an all-out nuclear disaster. The neglected child is a clear metaphor for something greater as the product of anxiety and insecurity within a shell-shocked neighbourhood where all of those still alive live off artificial food, many suffering from hysterical fits and seizures. The child’s place in the story is perhaps the most disturbing element, however, as the little tyke’s desperate cries reflect complete abandonment in times of utter chaos.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
Eraserhead
Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
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