Friday, June 10, 2016

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Yep, this is a David Lynch movie. Which is to say that, despite some of the haunting imagery, it has many of the typical flaws of a David Lynch movie (and I wouldn't say that this is his best one). Following on the heels of the television series, Twin Peaks the movie is in actuality a prequel to the series. Whereas the series explored the mystery of Laura Palmer's murder after the fact - putting the pieces of an intriguing puzzle together bit by bit - this movie (which spoils the TV series - be warned) takes a look at the last days of Laura Palmer's life, leading up to her death. As such, it works better as a character study of a young woman spiraling into the abyss (via surreal dream sequences and a plot sometimes only loosely connected to any thread of logic). It doesn't really answer any significant questions that are not at least strongly hinted at in the series, but it does help you to get a firmer grasp on some of the details.

Many of the characters from the series return, although some of them only briefly - I missed Sheriff Truman, as well as both Benjamin and Audrey Horn; Agent Cooper had only a minor role to play; and for some reason Donna Hayward was recast (my guess would be that the original actress didn't want to do a topless scene). On that note, this movie is considerably more graphic (in terms of both gore and nudity), but I'm not sure that adds anything, as the series was very effective at unsettling (and even occasionally titillating) the audience without resorting to those shortcuts. It also seems to play very strongly on the central theme of abuse, to the effect of reducing the supernatural elements to the level of metaphor (depending on interpretation, as always). While your English lit teacher would undoubtedly appreciate this symbolism, it's my view that demons are more interesting when they really are demons, and not just a creative way to visualize "the evil that men do".

Ultimately, the familiar, quirky atmosphere of Twin Peaks as found in the TV series is absent in the film, and I can't honestly rate it as must-see (like the series is). Certainly, if you loved Twin Peaks and can't get enough of it, or want to see more of the events leading up to Laura Palmer's death, then it's worth a watch. But, especially considering that it might be a little hard to get a hold of, I wouldn't go too far out of your way to watch it. The series is perfectly capable of standing on its own.

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