Friday, February 12, 2010

#14-Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Mulholland Dr.

David Lynch, who is one of the top film-makers of this generation, in my opinion, brings us a startling dive into the mind of four people. Our is it two? Or three? These are the kinds of questions Mulholland Dr. raises, in it's attempts to slowly rot away at your mind.The film was originally set to be a television show on ABC, but was canceled after a failed pilot episode. While I don't think that Mulholland would have been as good strectched out, I do think Lynch could have pulled it off, hell, just look at Twin Peaks. One of the strangest shows on television, with enough weird concepts to put even the most artsy people off, and Twin Peaks remains one of the best remembered shows of the 90's.

Now, I'm warning you, if you are a typical moviegoer, you are not going to enjoy this movie. I hate having to give out warnings like this, because the films are so excellent, but you know that some people just won't like them. Even if you aren't a typical moviegoer, don't watch this until you are ready. There are some movies that you just have to be in the right mind-set for, and no matter how much you've prepared yourself, you are never fully ready for a Lynch film. Many people consider this his best, but I do think that he has one better film out, which I will be reviewing soon to come.

It's almost impossinble to explain Mulholland Dr. without giving away essential plot points, but, I can try. We have a young woman from Canada, who is moving down to Hollywood, California to become an actress. Her aunt is out of town, and she is able to stay at her place. But, upon entering her condo, Bette finds a woman, who has recently been in car crash, and lost her memory has been hiding inside. So, while trying to get a role, Bette decides to help this woman find her memory, along the way they encounter many strange people and things, that you won't believe, even after you see.

First off, let me say that this is David Lynch's most accesible movie, and the easiest to understand. That having been said, you will not understand this movie. I've seen it five times, and still have not come up with an explanation for everything. One thing that I always praise about Lynch films, is how he uses pretty unknown actors and actresses, but they all perform very well.
Naomi Watts, gives what is probably her best performance ever, which is very tricky, especially given the role she has to play. Laura Harring also gives a very riviting performance, as a woman with so much character, who may be just that. The film has a wide variety of stange creatues that make up the supporting cast, including: Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, and many others, all of whom perform exactly as they should.

"Blue box, blue key."

One of the reasons I always love Lynch films, is they purposley give the middle finger to traditional narrative. Never will you find a film of his that is normal in anyway. With maybe the exception of The Elephant Man, but we'll let that one slide. I love films like this, for the same reason I love films with open endings. Because it leaves them open for interpertation, and that allows you to make them the movie you want them to be, thus hightening the experience a great deal.

The main story, which was explained above, is simple enough, and could have been turned into a nice, mystery thriller in the hands of another writer/director. But Lynch throws all sense out the window in the first act, puts a bag over your head, and spins you around and around, until you don't know where you are. This is another reason why I love Lynch, his films, at the heart, are all realtivly simple, and easy-going, but with a few sleight's of hand, he turns them into a complete fantasy land, turning everything on it's ear, and telling you it's the toe. His direction is simply fantastic, and his writing superb. While a few of his previous films weren't so good, all are aloud forgiveness, with Mulholland Dr. alone. Lynch alone made this movie worth seeing, backed up by excellent acting, marvelous attention to detail in production, and a great lighting department, Mulholland Dr. is propelled to the front of the pack.

The final thing I would like to comment on, before I finally wrap-up this review, is that I think Lynch should create a funhouse. Not a scary carnival funhouse, but a surrealistic walk-through ride of imagination. One of his best film attributes, is his ability to take sounds and images, and make them what they are not. There are moments in Mulholland Dr. that are some of the scariest I have ever witnessed, and if I were to dissect the scene, and break it down, I would have no clue why they would be scary. He also knows how to use lack of sound to create some very startling effects. One thing that he does perfectly to create tension, is if a camera is running down a long hallway, he makes it one continous shot. One, long, seemingly never-ending shot, which about midway through, loses sound completely, even when whatever jumps out from behind the wall, there is no sound, which makes even more terrifying.

As if you couldn't tell already, Mulholland Dr. is an excellent film. David Lynch (can't say his name enough) has created an amazing realm of peril and chaos, that only he could. I'd like to take a note from Michael Phillips who said "About half-way through, you'll have lost all your bearings, but in a good way, and you certainly won't mind." That about sums up the film, it makes sense, truly, it does. But you won't ever be able to figure out where all the loose ends tie up. Excellent writing, directing, imagery, sound, lighting, music, editing, set design, costumes, make-up, and much, much more definatly make this a film to see.

I Give Mulholland Dr. A:

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