Rising Actor Timothée Chalamet is the Chosen One in New Space Epic Dune

Arrakis. Dune, otherwise known as Arrakis, is a planet far into the galaxy home to the Fremen, rulers of the desert. Over the course of the movie, the Atreides Empire moved into Arrakis, and began to manage a spice (Melange) trade crucial to the Fremens survival.

Under creative commons used from Flickr by solaana

Arrakis. Dune, otherwise known as Arrakis, is a planet far into the galaxy home to the Fremen, rulers of the desert. Over the course of the movie, the Atreides Empire moved into Arrakis, and began to manage a spice (Melange) trade crucial to the Fremen’s survival.

Carmel Yonas, Opinions Editor and Sports Editor

In the critically acclaimed movie Dune, fans (myself included) marveled over the young and talented Timothée Chalamet in his prominent role as Paul Atreides, the heir to a family of powerful intergalactic politicians. The movie takes place in outer space thousands of years into the foreseeable future and portrays the story of two rival families, the Atreides and the Harkonnens.  These long-term enemies battle for power over the galaxy by fighting for control of a desert planet, Arrakis, and its natural resources. 

Dune. The trailer summarizes the Atreides and Harkonnen empires battling for control over the land Arrakis.

 

During production, Chalamet discussed his role as Paul Atreides and how he’s never acted as such an interesting character. In my opinion, the director of Dune, Denis Villeneuve, showcases Paul as more than just a protagonist; Chalamet embodies the very concept. Born from two powerful families, Paul’s mother is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a powerful organization of women who developed superhuman abilities, and his father is the patriarch of the Atreides Empire. His heritage ultimately leads Paul to acquire unique traits that distinguish him as the main character.

Paul’s significance shines notably in an early scene with his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and representatives of the Bene Gesserit as they reminisce upon Lady Jessica’s early years. I find it remarkable that Lady Jessica’s character chose to bear a son instead of a daughter, and knew from then on that Paul would be more than just a hero. It’s led me to believe the director purposely foreshadowed Paul’s destiny as a savior to the world, though this implication barely scrapes the surface of the pandemonium that soon follows.

As the son of Leto Atreides I (Oscar Issac), Duke of the Atreides Empire, Paul first withdraws from his future role as a powerful leader. At first, he desires nothing from his father’s position and feels his fate is not in alignment with the patriarchal government; however, Paul finally comes to terms with his situation and recognizes Leto’s prominence within the empire, as well as his own.

In the midst of this scene, I imagined the conversation to be headed in a completely different direction, and felt Leto wasn’t open-minded. Nevertheless, I picked up on his intimate and heartfelt reactions towards Paul, and decided he’d earned my empathy. Furthermore, after the tragic death of his father, Paul shifted into a more mature and adaptive character for the remainder of the film. In fact, I wondered how Paul would’ve been affected differently if his relationship with Leto had concluded on bad terms.

On the other hand, I never would’ve guessed Paul foresaw the future in his dreams, which are a frequent talking point throughout the story. It’s without a doubt that the people he dreamed of were either unknown, or a friend, but as I watched his dreams become reality, I became even more intrigued. Along with his special abilities, Chalamet provided insight into Paul’s intrinsic struggles as an honest and loyal friend, and fruitlessly attempted to prevent imminent events in the future.

In regards to the cast and film, Chalamet admitted in various interviews his appreciation for being given such an opportunity as he filmed alongside Zendaya, another popular actress and close friend, and director Denis Villeneuve. Although the film introduced Zendaya towards the end with a couple of lines, I believed she played an important role as Chani, a girl Paul vividly saw in his dreams.

I truly enjoyed the end of Dune with the last few scenes 0f Paul, Lady Jessica and the Fremen (the indigenous people of Arrakis) as they trek across the desert in search of a safe haven. Despite the fact that Paul is an Atreides and Chani is part of the Fremen, the two earn each other’s respect and form a quick friendship. While they became friends in the movie, the chemistry of the actors was so palpable, I believe the sequel will showcase Zendaya’s character as the love interest later on.

Overall, Chalamet truly performed with passion and emotion, and indulged himself as the main character Paul; I couldn’t have envisioned anyone else more perfectly suited to the role, and Zendaya’s performance felt spot-on as well. I was awed by the cinematography and can only sit and wait for Dune: Part II, itching to watch what happens next in theaters.