Frederick (Anthony Hopkins) is a professional surgeon who discovers a disfigured man known as “The Elephant Man”. The Elephant Man became disfigured when his mother had a tragic accident involving Elephants while she was pregnant. The man spends his day as a side-show freak living behind a mask and hidden from the world. He is also consistently abused and mistreated by a man who represents him. When opportunity allows, Frederick decides to reach out and attempt to help The Elephant Man. He soon discovers that underneath his mask and disfigured face is a man who is full of intelligence, kindness and more.
Performances here are breathtaking. Actor Anthony Hopkins brings such high amounts of strength, confidence, and compassion to the screen. While his character is quite wise and professional, I enjoyed seeing how much care he also has for others, particularly when it comes to this mysterious, unknown man. For those who are not aware, actor John Hurt plays the Elephant Man. There are so many elements about his performance that I also enjoyed too, but for the sake of spoilers, I will not reveal them. But I found myself sympathising for the character and the actor as this type of role would not have been a simple walk in the park. After doing some research, I later found out that the required makeup work alone to make the actor look disfigured for this film took eight hours to apply each time- that is impressive.
For those who are not aware, The Elephant Man was filmed in Black and White. I found the visual style rather creative. After watching this film, I could not imagine watching it in colour. The Ultra HD and Blu-ray release is also impressive to see, and it’s great to see many improvements have been made to this 1980s film.
Thanks to the director David Lynch, this film generally feels like a work of art, and it is quite powerful to witness. There were honestly some moments where I just wanted to pause the movie and enjoy some of the creative shots that David Finch managed to bring on-screen. The filming style alone captures many moments of sadness and tension.
Overall, The Elephant Man is a touching and compelling story. Considering the film is now over 40 years old, I am amazed at how relevant and robust the key messages were and how they still held up in today’s world. Performances from both Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt are incredible, and when combined with the directing style of David Lynch, it all adds up to a slice of cinema magic. A must watch for any movie lover.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden