Mulholland Drive

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Mulholland Drive
"Lynch creates unease with every camera angle and glitch in the storyline."

The Great Illusionist is back. David Lynch's last cinematic outing was The Straight Story which demonstrated an unexpected sensitivity towards biographic detail. How could the creator of Twin Peaks manage without the balm of the bizarre? Well, he did and it was beautiful.

Mulholland Drive returns to his old stamping ground. What you see is not what you believe. Finding a human ear in the long grass (Blue Velvet) is not dissimilar to finding a beautiful woman, who has lost her memory, in your aunt's house.

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There is something not quite right from the very beginning. Betty (Naomi Watts) arrives in Hollywood from Deep River, Ontario, with an innocence that sticks to the sidewalk. She wants to become an actress and attends auditions in a state of nervous euphoria. Little does she know that the movie business is run by hoodlums, who care nothing for talent. Little does she know that her persona might be the figment of someone else's imagination.

Rita (Laura Harring) survives assassination and car wreckage, staggering over brush and scree to the expensive mansions off Mulholland Drive, slipping through an unlocked door of the apartment into which Betty will come with her suitcase and her dreams. She does not know who she is, or how the day started. She sees a picture of Rita Hayworth and thinks she is looking at herself, this pale-skinned, dark-haired beauty whose history remains a mystery.

Betty has a heart like Arizona. She wants to bury Rita's fear in the canyon of her smiles.

Lynch creates unease with every camera angle and glitch in the storyline. Odd men lurk in the shadows of large rooms. Words are spoken with such deliberation, they puncture serenity. Gasping for comprehension, Betty confronts a world beyond the picket fence, as Rita waits in hiding for her life to return. Somewhere, in a minimalist modern bungalow beside a pool in the Hollywood hills, a young movie director (Justin Theroux) contemplates the futility of his chosen profession. The spirit of Raymond Chandler walks with them.

Nothing fits. Is this the Thirties? Or the Nineties? The period that is Hollywood's golden era stays in the minds of those who play roles. Is everything make believe? Does style dictate? Questions crowd in. There are no answers, only a persistent fascination. Lynch massages reality until it goes out of shape.

Reviewed on: 02 Jan 2002
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Special two-disc edition of David Lynch's confusing and spellbinding psychedelic dream.
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Chris *****

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch

Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Justin Theroux, Brent Briscoe, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Scott Coffey, Billy Ray Cyrus

Year: 2001

Runtime: 146 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

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If you like this, try:

Blue Velvet
Inland Empire
Twin Peaks