Eureka (1983)

As a UK script consultant I watch all kinds of films, a lot from the past, good, bad and indifferent there’s usually something to learn.

Now, I’m a big fan of the late Nicolas Roeg, an interesting and inspiring filmmaker, who sometimes can be a little bit too obscure. His Eureka from 1983 is a film that I’ve watched maybe three or four times over 20 years, and in the past I’ve struggled to understand what the hell he was aiming for.

It was always filled with interesting images (you’d expect nothing less of a Roeg film) and some powerful bits of acting (Hackman is like a force of nature in this). But I never really ‘got it’ and I wasn’t alone, as critics and the public alike are often left scratching their heads.

I’m 46 now, and watched it again this weekend.  Is it me, my age, or the times we live in, but the film is starting to make a lot of sense. Indeed, it feels like the film was well ahead of it’s time, and it now comes across as a kind of ‘There Will Be Blood’ type piece about the madness of pulling a fortune from the ground.

It seems to also be based on a true story.

The casting is also brilliant – alongside Hackman, is Jane Lapotaire a great underused actress and there’s Rutger Hauer, Joe Pesci and Mickey Rourke as well as Roeg’s muse Theresa Russell. All on top form.

The film is sometimes wilfully obscure, the whole thing could be the dream of a dead man freezing to death in the snow some years in the past. But it has Citizen Kane type power from time to time, even though the Hackman character also seems suicidal.

Altogether the film is starting to look like there’s a lot more going on than first meets the eye.  Like the main character, the audience needs to dig down, to find the gold.

The trailer is below…