For the Blockbuster-night afficionado, one of last year’s finest films has finally come out on video: Mulholland Drive.
A woman about to be murdered, a car crash that ironically is her saving grace, the headlights of the oncoming car illuminating her face…just perfect, fun, a rush – and then…the rest of the movie discounts that wonderful beginning and pretends like it didn’t happen.
The characters are always walking up garden pathways into secluded little bungalows that are reminiscent of fairy tales. The camera work during these scenes was nothing less than brilliant – somehow fluidly following the walkers through their garden and making these scenes come breathtakingly alive. David Lynch is saying we (as the audience) are being led down a garden path, and, as the old adage goes – he’s not going to let us in the garden (we’re never going to know what the movie’s about).
But then again, there is this strange idea that there is a plotline, an actual theme, some idea about doubling and reality versus non-reality and the hope for stardom in the glamorous yet frightening world of Hollywood.
Our actress Betty is as fake as can be, except when she’s acting, and her wide-eyed, girl-next-door charm is countered by her bleak, final act schizophrenic meltdown. Is Betty part I some idealized version of life in Los Angeles for a hopeful actress, and Betty part II some sort of reality of what actually happens to a would-be-actress? And if so how does the lesbianism/other woman doubling fit into all of this mess?
And then there’s all those little mini-plots, scenes in which characters we don’t know deal with nightmares or shoot up a whole apartment complex. These scenes, as riveting as they are, don’t fit into the puzzle. But is that part of the puzzle? Is this whole movie a post-modern joke?
The oddest thing about sitting through Lynch’s megalomaniacal id-fest was being awe of every scene, every emotion, every strange, quirky character. How brilliant, how incredible, how imaginatively strange – yet how confusing. You want to open up Lynch’s head with a razor blade, take out the brain, shake it and hope some sort of blue box comes out with a key, turn the key, and all of a sudden the last act of the movie comes out, and it’s a whole lot different than the confusing jumble we are privy too.