The Elephant Man (1980)
The Elephant Man is as traditional and straightforward as Eraserhead is surreal and obtuse. Both are black and white, and Lynch does use some dream imagery in The Elephant Man, but they’re at opposite end of the narrative spectrum. When you finish The Elephant Man, you are in no doubt about what you’ve just watched and what it means.
The camerawork is precise and every shot is pristine and artful. The story is emotional and mature, with an important message, and the ending is majestic. I appreciated it, and I felt it deeply, but everything is exquisitely on the surface. I’m finding it hard to write about, perhaps because compared to Eraserhead there is so much less room for interpretations. Anyway, I loved it, and I can’t imagine wanting to watch it ever again.