A delicious, dangerously sensual film from David Lynch, one that I just might consider to be his best film of all time (yeah I said it. I like this better than Blue Velvet). Naomi Watts is fantastic here, and Laura Harring is absolutely beautiful (and I’m not just saying that because we see her tits). David Lynch is able to weave a masterpiece of surrealism and noir brilliantly in this two and a half hour opus.
The photography is stunning, and every little quirk in it helps deliver more to the story. There’s one trick (or technique? Either way I don’t know what it’s called) where the camera is unfocused and twitches around really fast, as if its a point-of-view shot from a fly on the wall. And you can’t forget the classic Lynch love affair with vehicles driving on the highway at night. And red lamp shades.
The music is disturbingly unsettling throughout the entire picture, and helps to make its audience as uneasy as possible. This is why I respect David Lynch so much. As seen in previous films like Blue Velvet and Lost Highway, Lynch can take the most ordinary image or object and make it absolutely horrifying. There are countless scenes in this movie, for instance one where Watts and Harring are walking down an outside corridor in the complex where the music kicks in and their acting becomes dreamlike. It’s completely unreal and terrifying at the same. I felt the same feelings I felt years later when I was sitting in a dark theater watching Inland Empire.
Lynch does an excellent job weaving a series of vignettes set in Los Angeles, CA, that all connect in one way or another. You gotta love the beginning, where we see a bunch of people who look like they came straight out of Happy Days, all smiling and swing dancing their cares away. Then we see close ups of smiling faces, the most terrible and fake smiles one can ever see. These smiles could even be used to help interpret the film itself(SPOILER!): that the rest of the movie is as fake as this beginning, just one prolonged dream.
The only problem I had with this film dealt with some of the framing, but that can be forgiven since Mulholland Dr. was shot in a different aspect ratio since it was originally going to air on television. Justin Theroux is the bee’s knees here, as a director who is just having the worst day of his life (and even gets punched out by Billy Ray Cirus. Ew.). That’s okay though, since that huge man who comes looking for Theroux knocks out Cyrus in one hit, Paul from Tekken style.
BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!?! Here’s the beauty of Lynch (although it seems to enrage many viewers: it’s up to you to decide. In my opinion, I believe that the first two hours is a dream until Naomi Watts switches roles. From there on out the film is more fact based, although that dinner party scene at Theroux’s is also a dream. And the very ending , at the diner, is real. So its a dream inside a dream, right?
Mulholland Drive should have won best picture back in ‘01, but oh well. Like I said above, I think this is Lynch’s masterpiece. SOme may argue that he just recycled elements from Lost Highway and reused them here, and I do agree with that to some extent, but Mulholland Dr. is much more perfected than it’s predecessor. Black humor abounds here, and unfortunately this is one of those movies you’ll either love or hate. I belong to the former.