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"You'll find what you're looking for. But afterwards?"
wilderfan10 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Based loosely on an famous unsolved murder mystery (the multi-millionaire Sir Harry Oakes, who was brutally killed at his island retreat), Nicolas Roeg's "Eureka" takes this bare bones idea and transforms it into one of the most daring, ambitious and insightful films of all time. The film's screenwriter Paul Mayersberg packs each line of dialogue with thematic clues.

The opening half hour is so stunning that it makes your head swim- the camera sweeps into the snowfields of British Colombia whilst Stanley Myers' hauntingly repetitive theme throbs on the soundtrack. Jack McCann (Gene Hackman) is prospecting for gold and ditches his partners. Surrounded by wolves, he gets a small talisman that he takes back to a brothel. The madam Frida fortells the future: "You'll find what you're looking for. But afterwards?"

Jack sets off and discovers the gold (a genuinely amazing sequence). His ecstasy is short lived when he returns to his dying mistress. A burst of flame shoots forth and the film cuts to twenty years later when Jack is nostalgically telling the story to his daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell). Tracy is in love with an insubstantial dilettante Claude Mio Van Horne (Rutger Hauer), who Jack loathes. At that moment in time Tracy is looking forward, Jack is looking back.

Jack is bored. He says "Once I had it all. Now I only have everything". He is aware that his daughter is his soul-clone. On the surface, they appear quite different- he's bitter, she's a hedonist. Yet small details (both admonish Jack's alcoholic wife Helen to "lay off the sauce" and they both have a stunning gift for mathematics) tell the truth. They understand each other perfectly.

Jack is under siege from a pack of wolves who come in the shape of gangsters who want to develop Jack's island. Eventually the gangsters and Claude invade the house and Jack is brutally murdered. After this terrifying yet beautiful sequence, the film becomes more problematic. The courtroom scenes that follow contain dialogue that spells out the movie's themes and Russell's performance is hysterical. But the punchline as Tracy emasculates her husband is a doozy: "Claude...they despise you because you have me and I'm worth having. They despise me because I'm Jack's daughter and I have too much. And of course, they still despise Jack because he found what they're all still looking for". The movie atones for a lot with its gorgeous final moments as Claude paddles away.

It's difficult to articulate the power this movie has. It has an extraordinary power to sweep you away- it's a crazy, violent, lovely, magical experience. It's about the human condition and it deals with issues that are almost never talked about- the price we pay for getting what we want, the moments in life where we find our purpose, the essence of people that is passed down through the generations, the difference between old and new souls. The film's main flaws (clumsy dialogue) are directly linked to the main virtue (the sheer overwhelming density of the material). Its a movie that will speak to you personally or leave you cold (there's no middle ground) and I find it almost an affront when somebody doesn't respond positively to it.
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More direct process makes subtext even more meaningful
Polaris_DiB26 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is an odd one, even for Roeg fans. In one sense, it's much more straight-forward, linear, and narrative than his other works. It's metaphysical attributes are also more directly stated, instead of the kaleidoscopic mix of character and occult you find in other Roeg works. On the other hand, that straightforwardness makes all of his subversive use of editing and narration even more effective, as this movie tends to cause a sense of security right before dealing a blow.

The plot, as it exists in relatively straight-forward form, is about a man named Jack (played by Gene Hackman) who strikes it rich finding gold (a surreal moment made all the more effective by the water-like quality of the valuable substance). The movie then jumps forward over a decade later, where Jack's wealth and happiness on his own private island, surprise surprise, is filled with ennui and unhappiness, made all the more dramatic with his increasing selfishness, his constantly drunk wife, and his daughter's (Theresa Russell proving that her partnership with Roeg has a lot more power than mere outside-of-work relationship) romance to a womanizing French man (Rutger Hauer, in the best role I've seen him in since Blade Runner). Jack, since he's such an unlikable person AND rich, is a target to everyone else's priorities, so he gets killed. The husband of his daughter is framed, and suddenly the movie becomes a courtroom drama.

The story is Roeg's most dramatic and poignant along the human level. But what seems incongruous to that aspect of the film is the Voudou, the religion, the Tarot, the Kabbalah, and all the other religious and occult symbols and dialog welded into the frame like some kind of scrapheap onto a statue. However, what all that symbolism reveals, along with the dialog (I think this is Mayerberg's best collaboration with Roeg), is the fact that this movie is neither a gold-searching adventure story, nor an idle-class ennui drama, nor a courtroom thriller... it's a meditation on life and success. But saying it like that doesn't really give credit to the type of meditation it is, for this is far from the typical art-house "let's deconstruct modern life" style meditation on an upper class it despises; it's much more a question onto the nature of what part of success is really important, and above all what part of life can actually be called life. Putting it into the context of a metaphysical/spiritual realm makes it all the more powerful, as in most cases the camera is set at a God's-eye-view. The trial is a different type of judgment than you think. The title "Eureka" isn't just about finding gold.

Finally, a note about the cinematography: along with being a much more narrative work than Roeg's previous films, Eureka also is a lot less flashy. Despite that, the photography is still completely stunning, more so than ever in the lighting of the trial, which is probably one of the most reserved and subtle aspects of Roeg's film-making to date.

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Eureka is about desires!
poohpooh5 July 2002
Eureka is the kind of film you think you'll hate unless you give it a fair shake. It is a interplay between many characters, much like a soap opera. It works only if you take a general interest in the trivialities of each character. Jack McCann (Hackman) is the center of the film. His life is all about the gold he felt he earned, and the principle that he will never have any partners to share a percentage with. His life is ravaged by Mayakofsky (Pesci) and his henchmen. Charles Perkins, a friend of Jack's spent much of the movie trying to warn him that these men were dangerous. Jack's dilemma wasn't that he was waiting for his death, but the fact that he thought he was invincible. Being stubborn and set in his ways, Jack refused to give in to Mayakofsky. Jack was a man preoccupied with gold, but not loveless. He seemed to love all the women in his life. Also his daughter, Spacey Tracy. A loose young woman married to Claude (Hauer). Tracy had her head in the clouds, and wanted to live in a fantasy world. She did not provoke the fights between her father and Claude, but instigated them. She wanted Claude to fight as a proof of his love. Claude was most elusive. You never get his angle. If he loved Tracy or was just using her. She even used the witness stand as a way of finding out where Claude stood with her instead of pinning for the guilty ones involved in the tragic end of her father. (Claude did his own defense in court!) The movie has it's funny points. Like the dinner table scene at the McCann's where Jack makes some insulting remarks to the guests. Some of the best scenes involve Aurelio D'Amato, played by Mickey Rourke. He's cast in another glossed over film where he is perfect, but forgotten. D'Amato is a yiddish associate of Mayakofsky. And one of the main guys pestering Jack to sign the Luna Bay deal.(Mayakofsky wanted to build a casino on it.) There are scenes where D'Amato is begging Jack to sign. His baby face and soft voice should have gotten the devil to sign the document, but Jack wasn't so easy. Rourke's performance alone is reason enough to see this movie. And its not surprising he has a night with Tracy. Tracy loved Claude, but how could she resist D'Amato? Eureka is more of a film about the desires of man. Each character wants something, and they spend the entire film in pursuit of those things.
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Roeg's lost meisterwerk
PVOM26 May 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Nicholas Roeg's career, which spanned the seventies with one fascinating moody, atmospheric eye-opener after another (ie "Performance", "The Man who Fell to Earth" and "Don't Look Now"), seemed to be annihilated with this release. It is such an oddity, distributers didn't release it until 1986, once Hauer and Rourke were stars. This symbollic film about what drives a man finds Hackman reaching his lifelong goal too early in life- locating a motherload of gold. 30 years later in the Miami of the fifties, he's a bored millionaire, waiting to die. Following his brutal, no nauseating murder, the focus switches over to his son-in-law (Hauer) whose state of being is reminiscent of his younger self. Hauer's plight during the home stretch is pretty intense, even though it becomes a courtroom drama. A flawed, but unforgettable film with a great cast and token Roeg-esgue sex scenes.
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Fractured...........yet... fascinating...
merklekranz3 December 2008
Rarely has a film had so much potential, that goes unrealized. Gene Hackman and his gold discovery is beautifully photographed, yet so unlikely and unrealistic, that it seems surreal. From the moment things shift to the island, the movie plays like a beautiful montage, with story continuity only an afterthought. It becomes merely a series of images strung together with philosophical messages, huge time jumps, flashbacks, and metaphysical nonsense. Yet, the images of ultra violence, nudity, snow, gold flakes, and the Victorian splendor, will linger long after the movie ends. From that standpoint at least some of "Eureka"s potential is realized, but not enough to grab the greatness that was within grasp. - MERK
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EUREKA (Nicolas Roeg, 1983) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI15 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Despite intermittent evidence of Roeg's usual quality, this film can be seen as the beginning of his decline: it's interesting, certainly ambitious but, ultimately, unsatisfying. Surprisingly enough, it's not as cryptic as the director's earlier work though still not for all tastes (particularly given an irrelevant voodoo dance sequence involving a snake-infested orgy). The script is by ex-film critic Paul Mayersberg who had already written THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976) for Roeg. The film, which could comfortably be divided into three parts, is aided by a plethora of talent both in front - Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Jane Lapotaire, Ed Lauter, Mickey Rourke, Joe Pesci and Joe Spinell (a bit part as a thug) - and behind the camera (cinematographer Alex Thompson and composer Stanley Myers).

The first part, in which Hackman strikes it rich, is the best with two scenes that are particularly memorable: a despairing prospector blowing his head off in front of Hackman and, then, when the latter discovers the gold mine - an almost mystical sequence; however, one still has to contend with Helena Kallianotes' eccentric performance as a fortune teller/whore who befriends Hackman. The second part, in which we see Hackman twenty years on as a tycoon with a family - all-powerful but emotionally void: this section creates some added tension with Hackman's clashes with playboy Hauer (who marries his daughter, Russell, without her father's consent) and unscrupulous business partners Pesci and Rourke, and culminates with his violent death (quite a graphic sequence, occurring about 80 minutes into the 130-minute picture!) at the hands of the latters' thugs. The third and final part, then, involving Hauer's trial for Hackman's murder is the least compelling - given the latter's obvious absence, but also the silly contrivances which dominate this section (and particularly the preposterous scene of Russell's hysterics on the witness stand, with Hauer acting as his own defense attorney!).

EUREKA was shot in 1981 but the company that financed it couldn't make head or tail of it and decided to shelve the film; eventually, it was released in the U.K. in 1983 (I own a copy of the "Movies & Video" magazine from that time, which carries a reasonably favorable review of the film) and, according to "Leonard Maltin's Film Guide", didn't open in the U.S. until 1985!
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Well worth it. Spoilers Ahoy!
Timmy Church25 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie. Often surrealist wackiness doesn't do it for me, especially if blended into more straightforward narrative, but this film did it, did it well, and made it work. The first act (the wackiest) is beautiful and no matter how strange totally fitting with the rest of the movie. A lot of the previous commentors or summarizers seem to have gotten the facts of the movie a bit skewed, the McCanns live in the Bahamas during World War II, the courtroom scene (which I think worked perfectly) switches the focus not to Claude Maillot van Horn but to Jack's daughter. The murder is truly nauseating and I have a pretty decent tolerance. The story is based on a true story, the odd life and unpleasant end of Sir Harry Oakes but Roeg goes with a more personal story than anything I've ever heard about Oakes. In real life he was the victim of a dispute between HRH the Duke of Windsor, governor of the Bahamas, and the Mafia..
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Ed Lauter, RIP
Lee Eisenberg30 December 2013
I had never heard of Ed Lauter until he died a few months ago, even though I had seen him in a number of movies; he simply hadn't registered in my mind. While watching Nicolas Roeg's "Eureka", I was surprised to see that Lauter co-starred. I had also never heard of Harry Oakes until I read about the movie. The movie had a good plot but seemed as though it could've been shorter. In the end, I think that the main point to derive from the movie is that prestige makes people go crazy. Gene Hackman's character struck gold and it made him rich, causing him to go nuts, and the insanity extends to his acquaintances. As shown in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Wolf of Wall Street", people will do anything for money.

Anyway, it's an OK not great movie.
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Good Adventure of 80's
Predrag9 May 2016
Eureka is an undertaking where the director has a vision and, against all odds, follows it through.The downside was the woeful distribution of the film on completion, resulting in lack of audience participation due to a delayed release and scant showings (it played in just two London cinemas); just goes to show that certain distribution companies are flummoxed when they have a unique picture to promote. Eureka boasts a great across-the-boards cast, with Gene Hackman giving his customary all in a driven and committed performance, ably supported by Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Joe Pesci and in a minor role, Mickey Rourke. Director Roeg's use of locations, his skill in cutting, the harnessing of atmosphere and the adroit use of music add up to an intriguing whole, loosely based on fact. It was made at the start of the 80's after an astonishing run of films by Roeg.

Actually, this is a very quirky film, immersed in other things; in this case it is the Kabbalah. (This is made clear when Rutger Hauer wears a shirt with the Tree of the Kabbalah drawn on the front to a formal dinner in the middle of the film.) I found this release of the film both impressive and a let-down. It is impressive because of its ambition as a film; it is a let-down because (the way it is edited) most sense of "suspense" is replaced by puzzlement; this is The Zohar meeting Hollywood and suffering from the meeting. In the end, I don't feel this movie has any grand message for the world, except perhaps the pointlessness of having so much wealth if you don't do anything with it.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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Nicolas Roeg stumbling badly
JasparLamarCrabb12 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A movie that suffers from a real identity crisis. This is Nicolas Roeg's half mystic epic/half crime thriller with lots of dramatic soap opera nonsense thrown in. Gene Hackman is a prospector who strikes gold in the freezing Canadian wilderness and then lives a life with such a vengeful chip on his shoulder it leads to the destruction of everyone around him. He ends up living on a Caribbean plantation named EUREKA with an alcoholic wife and a a lot of trinkets made of gold. What points Roeg is trying to make around greed and ego are buried beneath far too many story lines and far too many characters popping in and out. Hackman is fine in a blustery role that suits him and the supporting cast includes Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Ed Lauter, and Mickey Rourke. Joe Pesci is a Miami mobster looking to buy Hackman's island. Helena Kallianiotes has a great cameo as a psychic whore who sets Hackman on the road to riches and ruin. The whole film ends in the most apocalyptic ways. Completed in 1981, but barely released in the US until several years later.
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Gene Hackman portrays a rich man
Petri Pelkonen30 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Jack McCann is a Klondike prospector who one day in 1925, after 15 years of searching, falls into a mountain of gold.He becomes one of the wealthiest men in the world.In 1945 he lives in luxury on a Caribbean island.He's married to Helen, who drinks a lot.His daughter Tracy is married to a man named Claude, who Jack doesn't trust.And there are some Miami mobsters who want his island to build a casino.It seems to him that everybody is after his money.Eureka (1983) is directed by Nicolas Roeg.The story is loosely based on the true murder of Sir Harry Oakes in the Bahamas in 1943.Gene Hackman does a solid job as Jack McCann.Without Hackman's performance this would be a much poorer film.Today this great, now retired actor turns 80, so congratulations.Theresa Russell is great as his daughter, Tracy McCann Maillot Van Horn.Rutger Hauer is terrific as Claude Maillot Van Horn.Jane Lapotaire does very good job as the wife Helen.Mickey Rourke is marvelous as Aurelio D'Amato.Ed Lauter is great as Charles Perkins.Joe Pesci is brilliant as Mayakofsky.The movie offers some decent drama, especially due to Jack McCann's character.Hackman's character seems like a rich man, but yet he's poor.His fear for his wealth and his soul make him that way, alienating him from those that are close to him.The scene where Jack is being murdered, is most brutal.His corpse is being partially incinerated and strewn with feathers.The movie could have been better, sure.I had the greatest time in the beginning, watching him searching for that gold.But nevertheless, quite fascinating movie.
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Another mediocre Roeg movie.
Fedor Petrovic (fedor8)21 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Somehow Roeg's themes tend to be better than the films themselves. He often picks original and unusual stories, but once again the result on the screen is disappointing. Not terribly interesting, even dull at certain parts in the first half, plus it's messy and not always convincing.

It starts off with a reasonable twenty or so minutes in Alaska (or wherever), then goes nowhere for a while, with sometimes pointless and sometimes boring dialog. The second half gets confusing, with scenes just being piled up without any kind of sequence that would make sense. The courtroom scenes are tedious, throwing yet more confusion. Is Russell a part of Pesci's plan? Was she in on it? If not, why did she sleep with Rourke? If she wasn't in on it, then somehow her affair with Rourke doesn't make sense; she said something in her never-ending courtroom speech about having affairs herself, sleeping around with men. Was that supposed to clarify her sleeping with Rourke while her husband was on trial for murder? It doesn't quite wash. Her impassioned dialogue with her husband, acting as his own attorney, goes on forever but unfortunately also goes nowhere. After this speech, we understand both her and the plot even less. Then Hauer gets surprisingly acquitted, and he and Russell have a little talk in the last part, which doesn't really do much in the ways of shedding some light on anything.

But easily the messiest part of the movie is the entire night of the murder; scenes of ritualistic natives' orgy mix with Hackman going around the island, first searching for Hauer and Russell and then bumping (literally, with his car) into his business partner. Hackman is lead to Pesci's men, but refuses to sign a contract, and this entire scene with him and the gang members is unconvincing and almost silly. Hauer JUST HAPPENS to be there and witnesses this meeting (I know it's an island, but surely it isn't only ten meters wide), and Hackman somehow sees him. Beforehand, Hauer had taken part in the afore-mentioned orgy, and escorts some women and a guy away from it, telling them not to talk about it.

The whole thing appears disorganized, disconnected and lacks flow. The same goes for the scenes leading up to the ensuing murder of Hackman, which are just scenes piled one on top of another, as though put together by an editor drunk out of his mind. At the end of the film we hear Hackman's words again, something about gold or whatever. I have no idea what Roeg's point was; too many things here don't add up. The typically Roegian emphasis on the supernatural didn't help either. Hauer is very good. A film that strives for some "profound message", but fails to deliver it (if it even has one).
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Unbearable nonsense masquerading as "art".
Jonathon Dabell25 February 2004
Quite a cast isn't it? Gene Hackman, Rutger Hauer, Jane Lapotaire, Theresa Russell, Mickey Rorke, Ed Lauter and Joe Pecsi, all in one film. Directed by Nicholas Roeg, who masterminded the classic Walkabout and Don't Look Now. Based on a riveting true story about a mega-rich gold prospector, Harry Oakes, who was murdered in his plush Bahamian mansion. With credentials as mouth-watering as they are, Eureka is the closest thing you'd ever get to a surefire masterpiece. Yet somehow, the handling is so over stylized and so pre-occupied by meaningless artiness that the film emerges as a complete and utter failure. A mishap of a movie to rank alongside other "movies-that-couldn't-fail-but-did", like The Adventurers (1970) and Inchon (1981).

After years of gold hunting in the frozen Arctic wilderness, Jack McCann (Hackman) hits upon a massive gold claim in 1925. Immense wealth is thrust upon him. The story moves on twenty years, and McCann now owns a sun-drenched Bahamian island and has every luxury-in-life at his fingertips. However, wealth brings him little happiness. His wife Helen (Jane Lapotaire) has become an alcoholic; his daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell) has grown distant from him since marrying an ambitious playboy (Rutger Hauer); and he is being leaned on rather heavily by murderous Florida mobsters who want to build a casino on his island.

Featuring the most extreme and unwatchable murder scene from any film ever made, and a host of surreal sequences, Eureka is an ultimate example of The Emperor's New Clothes-Syndrome. You are asked to watch a long film about nothing, and tricked into believing that it is some kind of deep and meaningful masterpiece. Unfortunately, it is no such thing. Rather, it is a confused, cruel, over-sexed, violent and grossly self-indulgent bomb. The stunning cinematography merely adds to the sense of regret that such promising-sounding material has turned out so utterly, utterly awful.
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Great start, but promises more than it delivers.
jonathanmelia23 November 2006
I too first saw this in London when it came out May 1983, at the Screen on the Hill. It was my O-level year, and I was a skinny, awkward 15-year-old, desperately trying to get into my first 18-rated film. It worked. But was it worth it? The film has an extraordinary opening section, as Gene Hackman finds the gold under the snow-encrusted earth, culminating in a spectacular, slow-motion explosion of rock and snow. Set to extracts of Wagner's DAS RHEINGOLD, it's unforgettable, thrilling cinema, and had my jaw dropping into my cappuccino. We also have the sight of a dying, half-frozen man blowing his brains out again and again, bringing to mind the disjointed, hallucinatory quality one recognises from the director of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH and DON'T LOOK NOW. Stunning, disturbing stuff.

Unfortunately the momentum quickly slackens as we cut forwards in time to a rather dull, plodding melodrama about a Kane-like man who in his anguish says, "Once I had it I only have everything." (Coming after the prologue, this also applies to the film itself.) There's some nasty scenes involving voodoo and Rutger Hauer doing something rather strange with a python, some gut-wrenching violence involving a blow-torch and the contents of a pillow, and a soap-opera court-room finale that feels as if it's wandered in from an entirely different film altogether. There are rumours of a different film lurking in this exuberant mess: one of the film's stars has hinted that it was not Roeg's final version that we saw. But I couldn't call this a success. Roeg fans should check it out as an oddity, but be warned: after the brilliant beginning, it's downhill all the way.
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Viewing Advice
thp226 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The many comments about this film's third act are on the money. It's anti-climatic, poorly written and poorly acted (especially by Ms. Russell, who is great otherwise). Act Three seems like it belongs in another film. Acts One and Two are simply brilliant, and curiously enough stand up on their own as a complete film. This works in one sense because the film as a whole is way too long. Seen without the boring and pointless trial scenes "Eureka" is a tight satisfying drama. I've tested this theory and shown it to friends, stopping the tape at the moment Hackman is killed. Everyone who viewed the film this way loved it, while those that saw all three acts felt the film had great moments, but was severely flawed piece of work. Take my advice, stop watching when Hackmen dies. Yes, you could insist on seeing the whole thing to make up your own mind, but you'll miss out on the experience of seeing it for the first time and loving it completely.
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Soap opera
Maziun4 July 2013
If you're looking for a thriller or court drama , please go somewhere else . There is no murder mystery as the summary for the movie might suggest . "Eureka " is more of a soap opera . We have few stories here : about father who doesn't accept her daughters husband , about man from old generation that can't find his place in modern world , about wife and husband that can't communicate with each other . Unfortunately , the plot here is very muddled and it's hard to understand what this movie is all about .

Gene Hackman and Rutger Hauer both give good performances . It was good to see Theresa Russell naked . The beginning of the movie at the Arctic and the death scene are possibly the best moments of the movie . After that I've lost interest in the movie . Still , it's not bad . I give it 3/10.
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Odd misfire, but with beautiful cinematography
calvinnme9 December 2017
Weird, sloppy, self-indulgent, meta-physical, sometimes boring, sometimes hallucinatory: all these things describe this misfire from director Nicolas Roeg. Gene Hackman stars as a gold prospector in Alaska during the final days of the gold rush. Most of the people have given up and gone home at this point, but Hackman refuses. After a strange encounter with a meteor (I think) he receives some kind of lucky rock (I think) that gives him the extra push to find his gold strike. And does he ever. Cut to decades later, and he's fabulously wealthy, with a giant estate named Eureka. His grown daughter (Theresa Russell) has married a European playboy (Rutger Hauer) that dad doesn't approve of. There's also a shady consortium of some sort, headed by Jewish tough guy Joe Pesci (!) and represented by Italian lawyer Mickey Rourke (!), that needs Hackman's financial backing for some new endeavor.

The cinematography is beautiful, as it usually is in Roeg's films, but the plot is a mess of ham-handed symbolism and uninspired dramatics. The terrific cast, which also includes Ed Lauter, Joe Spinell and Corin Redgrave, is good, with Hackman the stand-out, as usual. Rourke looks scared and uncomfortable, which fits with his character, but he comes across more like he's fully aware of how wrong he is in the role. Russell and Hauer are both beautiful, and they both spend much of the film in various states of undress. There's also one of the most brutal, protracted murder scenes I've seen in a film in a long time. It's starts off shocking, but becomes rather ludicrous the longer it's dragged out. I can't really recommend this film to anyone except Hackman fans or fans of bizarre obscurities.
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Roeg's masterpiece and depiction of William Faulkner's 'Snopes' !
selvatica21 September 2017
Yeah !! Faulkner is still a rare class of his very own, the most important American Great Novelist ( with maybe only Melville ) , still there has been NOBODY else after him in the USA, oh yes I can motivate my passion for him, he's my favorite USA-writer and in my top 3 of international writers, and I always wondered WHY no filmmaker ever tried to translate his 'writing' ( one B-film I remember, and not bad, but too SMALL ) I mean, liberalistic capitalism is INVENTED by the USA, its greatest stories are to be found here and nowhere else but did any artist try?? ? !! I've waited for years for a epic film about the greedy new yuppies of Faulkner's Snopes, but nobody even tried just until after decades of stasis finally comes Anderson and D.D.Lewis magnus opus: YES, my Faulkner finally on the big screen and how great it is , it's not officially about Snopes or based on any Faulkner , but genetically the very same and the only depiction of Snope-mentality we have till now, bravo Anderson, finally a true USA- masterpiece since 30 or 40 years ( since Apocalypse Now ) ! Well then , this Roeg film is the totally overlooked older brother of TWBBlood, same theme, the individual search for gold/money , and he has own Snopes around him : R.Hauer and M.Rourke play it terrificly .

Roeg's greatest masterpiece is my favorite of his films and since years on a steady number 2 of my 'final'list ( with others like A.Rubjlev and Eclisse). I'm actually glad so many people don't care for it or don't ( try to) understand it, so it remains 'totally mine' and I won't make publicity ........See it if you like, or don't......probably you will NOT like it at ALL, it has everything to look like a big piece of small kitsh. Theresa Russel's overplaying ( I so adore this actress ...) and the 'weird murder' ( in reality it was weirder ) and an abbondance of cabbala, voodoo, alchemist symbols ( the butterfly brooche !!)in every corner of the film whether in words,designs, or clothes ,it will make you SCREAM, unless you know some about the alchemy of human soul, and its question "what gold am I looking for?".

Oh's also VERY static, theatrical, slow, very clumsy unrealistic dialogues , you'll feel almost ashamed to watch. Conclusion: AVOID IT.

My Roeg's list : 1: Eureka 2: The Man W F On Earth 3: Walkabout 4: Performance 5: Insignificance + Bad Timing ( Theresa's masterpieece ) 6: Don't Look Now ( very overrated )
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interesting cast
SnoopyStyle24 September 2016
Jack McCann (Gene Hackman) fights off his partner, witnesses a shocking suicide, and hallucinates about his wife Helen. During a long, harsh Arctic exploration, he stumbles into a cave where he literally unleashes a river of gold. Years later, he is filthy rich with his own island. He doles on his daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell) but dislikes her pick Claude Maillot Van Horn (Rutger Hauer) to marry. Charles Perkins (Ed Lauter) is his business partner. Mobsters Aurelio D'Amato (Mickey Rourke) and Mayakofsky (Joe Pesci) want to buy the island to build a casino but Jack refuses. It's WWII and everybody wants to kill Jack.

The first act has so many surreal touches which doesn't always fit the rest of the movie. There are also some weirdness in the rest including a voodoo orgy and a crazy kill. All the strange touches distract from a more tense thriller. Although I can say that I've never seen a blowtorch used that way. This does have a killer cast which keeps it interesting. This is a cross between Hitchcock and an experimental art-house film. The trial is extraneous and adds no tension to the movie. That's par for the course.
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always described as flawed
harry lime14 November 1999
Roeg draws on Who Killed Sir Harry Oakes, as well as Skakespeares tempest and some Robert Service to create this tale of a man who "once had the world, now i just have the everything". a film of thems and more subplots than plot-and many themes. hackmann is a perfect Roeg actor-like Sutherland, Fox and Bowie, but some other performances are not as comfortable, or not as well written -particularly the women. A film that is worth repeated viewing
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A horrible,horrible,horrible movie.
dbdumonteil12 August 2001
Already in "Performance" and in "Don't look now",Roeg showed a pretentious,show-off and gaudy style.The latter film was saved,however,by Daphne DuMaurier-inspired screenplay ,Venice setting and Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland's skills.Here,absolutely nothing.The movie fluctuates with a complete incoherence from a genre to another.The first fifteen minutes recall some kind of remake of "Come and get it" ,an old movie(1936)by William Wyler and Howard Hawks.Then it leaves the adventure films genre for the soap opera,complete with grumpy rich man (It might be Hackman's worst movie)frustrated wife playing tarots,rebel daughter,and French son-in-law with frame of mind(Yes I am a coward!).Then the soap opera turns into a film noir ,featuring as a highlight,so to speak, a vaudou orgy.And finally what a surprise,a trial(You could have been an artist!,Russel says to her father's killer hubby)The colors evoke postcards,the interpretation is either theatrical (Russel and her mother)or inexpressive(Hauer,Rourke,the latter would do better with "Angel heart") As I said,a horrible,horrible,horrible movie.
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Horrible story.
poolcue2 August 2001
A waste of time. My wife had the same opinion. It should never been released. I wonder if the actors ever looked at this picture and if they did what they though of it? The cinematography was interesting but the picture still should have stayed in the box.
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Underrated Masterpiece? No, More Like a Case Study in Bad Filmmaking
classicalsteve27 May 2017
Young filmmakers, take notice. "Eureka" is a case study in bad filmmaking which could be used in filmmaking and/or film appreciation classes. The premise could have worked all right if the script had had about a half dozen additional rewrites and if the many cinematic tricks had been pared down. The story-line itself seems like it was recycled by out-of-work screenwriters dumped from "Days of Our Lives", barring the opening sequence. Part of the problem is the film throws more symbolism at the viewer than all of Orson Wells' films combined which we'll explore later. The scenes are also so overly directed the resulting cinematic experience seems more like a desperate film student trying to "prove" he is the next Orson Wells or Fritz Lang rather than allowing the characters and the scenes to tell the story.

In the 1920's Jack McCann (Gene Hackman) is a gold prospector in the arctic who finally hits it rich. He doesn't just become rich, but purportedly becomes the richest man in the world, so tally up silly problem number one. (If you examine history, almost no one became the richest person in the world from gold prospecting.) Fast-forward to the 1940's, McCann now owns an island in the Caribbean. He has a daughter Tracy McCann (Theresa Russell) who has given her heart to an emotional walking soap opera, Claude Maillot Van Horn (Rutger Hauer). Of course, Claude and Jack can't stand each other, although when we first meet Tracy, I thought she had had an affair with Jack, not that she was his daughter! Tally up silly problem number two. (They actually talk about having been in Paris, similar to Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca"!)

Hackman for about the next hour rants and raves about Hauer groping his daughter: tally up silly problem number three. For being the richest man since John D. Rockefeller, he seems unable to control these people! Couldn't he just hire some hit-men and off this irritant? At the same time, two Italian mafia-types played by Joe Pesci and Mickey Roarke are trying to finagle Hackman into starting a casino in Miami. Several times I couldn't hear what they were saying, but, more importantly, I didn't really care! Tally up silly problem number four.

Silly problem number five gets the silver medal: the shots. The shots were too innovative for their own good. Zooming in on characters when they do something "strange" or become emotional occurs ad infinitum. If a character is unhappy, zoom! If they're giving an endless tragic speech, as a fortune-teller/brothel madam does at the beginning, zoom! It's zoom in for this and zoom in for that, zooming down from above, zooming up from below. There was more zooming around than a typical Superman film. A strange episode at the beginning was supposed to be a dream sequence but there was so much zooming around and strange symbolism I didn't understand it was a dream or what it meant.

Which brings us to silly problem number six: the gold medal goes to the symbolism! Yes, this film is so chock full of symbolism applied with a sledgehammer I started forgetting why I care about the story! Explosions, candles and clocks get about as much screen time as the characters in "Eureka"! They also seemed to be overt homages to Orson Wells' "Citizen Kane" referring to the exploding crystal snow globe after Kane says "Rosebud". Explosions run rampant at the beginning of the film in the arctic, including a horrid blast-your-brains-out suicide which served no purpose at all. Later it's clocks and candles. And of course all the symbols are zoomed into again from all angles imaginable. Particularly, towards the last half of the film, we're zooming to clocks! Is the filmmaker running out of footage? Candles are also everywhere. People even walk around with candles as if we're in a bad Hammer Film from the 1950's!

The film is essentially a cinematic mess. For all the zooming and symbols, I couldn't get a hold of the characters. Hackman who often plays very resolved characters seemed strangely ambiguous. For a guy who has everything, he seemed to be in a real rut! Hauer is little better. He's won Theresa Russell, the most attractive character in the film, and even he doesn't seem very happy about it. Actually, Russell's character was the only one who was reasonably well-defined. But even she can't save this odd mess of a movie. Sadly it wasn't quite so bad that it was good. Essentially everything which should never be in a movie, and more.
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