Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

I'll be damned if this movie makes any sense at all (although it helps to know that it was a failed-TV-pilot-turned-one-off-film, and this analysis makes me think twice), but you know what? I didn't even mind, because David Lynch has such a talent for creating an atmosphere of mystery and uneasiness. This is true art, and while it makes you think, you don't so much want to put the pieces together as you revel in the feelings that it can evoke in you.

Also, Lynch has an uncanny knack for faces, and he creates such intriguing characters. There's even some real eroticism in this movie, like you so rarely see, between the two female leads - the one of which, Naomi Watts, is, in my opinion, stunning in this role.

I wonder if maybe David Lynch would be better suited to creating shorter pieces (his movies seem frequently to exceed the two hour mark), since he's masterful at creating atmosphere, but his stories rarely seem to tie themselves together in the long run (at least not without extended analysis).

For example, the scene in this movie where the man at the diner is talking about a frightening dream he had. One of the most amazingly unsettling scenes in a movie I've ever seen, and I think it would be just as effective out of context of the rest of the movie - in fact, its connection to the rest of the plot is tenuous at best (or at least not obvious).

And the scene where Bettie goes to audition for the soap role - it's unreal. I'm not even sure what the hell that blue box is, or what the film set has to do with anything - although The Cowboy character was fascinating, and intimidating in his own way.

But as I said, I didn't even care that I couldn't fit all the pieces together, because it was the experience of it, the feelings of uncertainty that David Lynch evokes in you, that make it so captivating. And the music is not only perfectly suited to the mood of the piece, but it's fantastic in its own right.

I very much recommend this movie, even more than the other two Lynch pieces I've seen - Blue Velvet, which wasn't quite as effective for me as this one, and Eraserhead, which was very effective, but perhaps too out there for general audiences.


  1. Hmmm, interesting. Would you recommend it to me? Mulholland Dr. is often listed among the top of Best LGBT Films lists. I've always worried it was a little out there for me though, as in all things simplicity is my modus operandi.

    I've also heard it may conform to the undertonal concept of the straight universe enacting cosmic revenge upon gays for their transgression. But it doesn't seem to get shunned for it as much as Heavenly Creatures so it can't be all bad in that regard.

  2. I'd recommend it. You might even be able to appreciate the eccentricities from a discordian angle. It's a great movie in that it takes a lot of work to make sense of, but you can genuinely enjoy it without even understanding why everything happens. At the very least, if not on the whole, there are scenes in the movie that are definitely worth seeing. I mean, this is just the sort of movie I would recommend to people just to give it a try, whether they end up liking it or not. And because it really demonstrates the potential of cinema as a story-telling medium and as an art form.

    It doesn't even really feel like an LGBT film to me (that could be a plus or minus depending on your perspective), but it's got a really great lesbian relationship. Of course, from my perspective, I thought it was great because both girls were hot - somebody looking at it from a "gay issues" perspective might see it differently - but the actresses did have great chemistry. Bit of a spoiler, but the relationship doesn't work out terribly well in the end, although I honestly didn't see it in a "gays are doomed to tragedy" sort of way. It was more of a "not all relationships work out" sort of thing. Which is great, I guess, because I don't think they put too much emphasis on it being a lesbian relationship - it wasn't like, "lights, camera, and - gay couple!" It was just two girls who really liked each other.

    Anyway, your reaction may vary, but I'd give it a try.