Movie Review: Eraserhead


Every director has to start somewhere, and for David Lynch, it was Eraserhead. After receiving a small sum of money from the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies, Lynch would spend the next five years bringing his Eraserhead script to life.

The film follows Henry, who soon finds himself in over his head after his girlfriend has a baby, which is born horribly deformed. After his girlfriend leaves, Henry is left alone with the child, and a series of bizarre and almost dreamlike affairs ensue from there. 

What makes Eraserhead so incredible is the sense of bewilderment and even confusion David Lynch creates with his signature “bizarre” style. He uses symbolism and imagery to represent things throughout the film, none of which is obviously explained. It’s up to the audience to interpret the film and see it as however they want. This is a common trend among filmmakers, especially directors like Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, and even Stanley Kubrick. The strange and unexplainable nature of the film may be unappealing to some, but fascinating to others. 

Another aspect of the film that makes it so great is the cinematography. The film is shot in beautiful black and white on thirty five millimeter film, and the result is visually stunning. The lights are blindingly bright and the darks are pitch black, creating an alluring sense of balance. Along with this is the absolutely phenomenal sound design. The various noises and tracks played throughout the film effectively add to the world-building, creating full immersion for the viewer. 

The world of Eraserhead, though it may not seem appealing, is truly beautiful, and only David Lynch could have made it work. His visual style creates a world that is truly one of a kind, and it has not been seen in any other film. While Lynch’s later films are more popular (films like Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, and Mullholland Drive), I think that Eraserhead is without a doubt his best, and a must-see for those who are interested in filmmaking.