Mulholland Dr. Review

A woman dressed in black (Laura Harring) narrowly escapes an attempt on her life and is left wandering aimlessly, finally finding refuge in a empty flat. Betty (Naomi Watts) however arrives to occupy the flat the following day and is surprised to find her there. The woman in black is also suffering from amnesia and happens to have a vast amount of money on her along with a strangely shaped blue key. Betty decides to help her recover her memory rather than call the Police. Cut to a Hollywood office, where Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux), a young director, is being told he has to change the lead actress in his current film as Mr Roque is now running the film - Mr. Roque is apparently the head of the Mob and also happens to be a giant (played by the 3'7” Michael J. Anderson - the man who taught us all to talk backwards in Twin Peaks). Cut to what seems like a patient talking to his therapist about a bizarre dream he had about the very coffee shop they're in - that an evil man was controlling everything that is happening...

Attempting to summarise the plot of Mulholland Dr. is no mere feat - that is if there is such a thing one could describe as a plot! Originally filmed as an open-ended pilot, Mulholland Dr. was turned down by the networks as too violent and found no financial backing so Lynch ended up making it into a feature length film. The overall tone of the movie is interestingly similar to Twin Peaks: that strange alchemy of bizarre humour and tense, angst-ridden moments and to his credit, he manages to control the tone so perfectly the audience is always laughing with him rather than at him. After the critical and commercial success of The Straight Story which indeed was unusually straight forward for Lynch, he seems to have returned to his favoured style of film-making: his obsession with the paranormal, electricity, smoke and the dark underbelly of the American psyche are ever present along with his habit of casting musicians in the supporting roles : this time we get the “country” star Billy Ray Cyrus and Angelo Badalmenti (composer for most of Lynch's films).
Both lead actresses stand out for the quality of their acting. The roles they were given were probably incredibly difficult to get their minds around so that they managed to pull them off with such conviction speaks volumes. Visually speaking the film is probably not as amazing as Lost Highway but still stunning to look at with great lighting effects and all of Lynch's usual trademarks of special effects.

Lost Highway got severely mangled by the critics as incoherent, self-indulgent film-making with Siskel and Ebert giving it an infamous “two thumbs down” (Lynch fought back with posters claiming that was “two good reasons to go and see Lost Highway”!) and they'll probably be as perplexed by Mulholland Dr.. If you're not easily thrown nor obsessed with having a clear narrative string, this is compelling viewing forcing you to constantly re-evaluate what you've seen. even if it will most likely have you leaving the cinema with more questions than answers...




out of 10
Category Film Review

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