Eureka (1984) - Rotten Tomatoes

Eureka (1984)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Adapted by Paul Mayersberg from the speculative novel Who Killed Sir Harry Oakes?, Eureka! relies almost exclusively upon star Gene Hackman for its success. Striking it rich in the Klondike, Jack McCann (Hackman) lives high on the hog for 30 years on a tropical island. Though wealthy, he's not happy, fearful that someone will come along and steal his fortune. Things come to a disastrous head when McCann is suddenly beset with unwelcome visitors, including mob hit-man Mayakofsky (Joe Pesci). Theresa Russell co-stars as McCann's daughter Tracy, who has plenty of trouble of her own. The film ends with an elongated courtroom scene that slows Nicholas Roeg's already leisurely pace to a leaden walk. Completed in 1981, Eureka! spent five years in relative obscurity before it was finally given widespread release.
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Gene Hackman
as Jack McCann
Rutger Hauer
as Claude Maillot
Jane Lapotaire
as Helen McCann
Ed Lauter
as Perkins
Mickey Rourke
as Aurelio
Joe Pesci
as Mayakofsky
Corin Redgrave
as Worsley
Cavan Kendall
as Pierre de Valois
Frank Pesce
as Stefano
Norman Beaton
as Byron Judson
Emrys James
as Judge
Emma Relph
as Mary
John Vine
as Julian
Tim Van Rellim
as Police Chief
Ellis Dale
as Jury Foreman
Tom Heaton
as Man Blowing off Head
Geri Dawson
as Whore
Ian Tracey
as Joey
Thomas Heaton
as Man Blowing off Head
Raimund Stamm
as Patron
Tommy Lane
as Miami Chauffeur
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Eureka

All Critics (3)

Eccentric even by Roeg standards, this goes overboard with the histrionics, and even the slight supernatural tinge that defines Roeg's films is clumsily handled here. Yet there are some thought-provoking ideas and exchanges, and the acting is impeccable.

Full Review… | May 28, 2016
Creative Loafing

More a curio than a straightforward classic, Nicolas Roeg's Eureka is beyond weird.

Full Review… | March 18, 2016
Times (UK)

In its own convoluted way, tells us that money can't buy us happiness.

Full Review… | August 2, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Eureka

A mess of a film. Rutger Hauer as a qabalahist? Setting alive metaphors in a movie is far frrom easy, this is evidence.

Anders Ask
Anders Ask

Not Roeg's best film, but maybe his masterpiece in the way it incorporates all of his signature elements thematically and in it's editing. A man spends fifteen years looking for gold in Alaska and finally finds it, cut to decades later on his private island "Eureka", that a mobster wants to buy, and which he refuses to sell against all better judgement. Nature and desire, and the impossibility of owning either.

Joseph Sylvers
Joseph Sylvers

Nicolas Roeg takes aim at a shocking drama about a man named Jack McCann who struck it rich by finding gold in the Canadian wilderness. The story is based on the real life murder of Harry Oaks and Roeg breathes life into his version of the madness. There are moments (mostly early on in the film) that snare the imagination and are so puzzling and intriguing that one must follow the leader in hopes of finding a pot of gold at the end of the visual beam that does in fact arch. What goes up does come down and it's difficult to follow the visionary director as he continues on the journey into insanity with Gene Hackman in the forefront. What wonders Roeg captured on film in Walkabout is only hinted to here and this script paralyzes the balance. In my mind, Roegs debut remains his crowning masterpiece with little competition from his other films. After striking it rich with gold in Canada, we see McCann (Hackman) years later steadfast in his wealth and obviously mentally unstable. We soon see that he is paranoid of his daughter and her husband and their "plot" to take his wealth...and maybe his soul. What evolves is that broadening madness of one of the worlds riches men and his imploding world of paranoia. He maintains his hostility for the entire run of the story but the plot thickens when his longtime friend and business partner brings in two wealthy criminals (Mickey Rourke and Joe Pesci) and they have their own ideas about Hackman's future. Almost everyone in this cast is maliciously selfish in one way or another to the point where we almost credit them for the lengths that they will go to. The performances aren't really the issue here it's the story and for the most part it's drowning in its own ideas. This is not the insult that Don't Look Now is and it's not the wonderful art film that Walkabout is. Eureka is somewhere lost in between these two stations. Hackman, Rutger Hauer, and Theresa Russell all give decent performances and I even like the idea of using Rourke and Pesci as smaller supporting roles. They all give the story a pulse and the film is shot well by Roeg. The problem is the story never takes on a affirmative motion. It becomes glossy and uninvolving at some point. The savage footage and contrasting delicate images are brought down by an almost incoherent script. I like the aggressive nature of these characters and their ideals that are threatened (or presumably threatened). Greed and betrayal are themes under the microscope but the film magnifies them so much that we can barely recognize them after a while. Hackman shows much skill and promise here in the beginning and even in the ending, but Roeg and the writers essentially shoot themselves in the foot before they can take any steady aim at anything resembling tangible. (D)

Craig Taylor
Craig Taylor

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