The Director's Chair > David Lynch

Lost Highway

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Possible spoilers.

I caught this Sunday night, so it's rather late to be trying to come up with stuff to say so long after the fact, but to my surprise, there's no thread about this, and it definitely merits some sort of discussion.

I had an appreciative smirk on my face the whole way through this movie, because I had seen Mulholland Drive, so I knew what I was in for, and like with Mulholland Drive, I was liking what I saw until about three-fifths through the movie when I knew nothing was gonna be explained.  It was just one of those hunches I ended up being right about.  Some people have said Mulholland Drive is a retelling of Lost Highway.  I can definitely see that.  And, I see Bunuel's influence on Lynch, especially from That Obscure Object of Desire.  The film itself is inspired and insipid all at once, because of the sheer gaul Lynch has.  If you surrender yourself to him, you'll find yourself having a much better time, than if you try to logically explain what happens in his films.

Quick summary for those of you who don't know: a man and his wife live in a lackluster marriage.  The man plays sax in a nightclub.  His wife reads.  One night, they get a videotape of footage of their house.  The tapes continue until they are shown footage of themselves sleeping.  It freaks them out so they call the cops.  Then, things start to spiral out of control when the man drifts into a dreamlike state and sees images of his dead wife.  He's arrested for her murder, then sentenced to death.  He's locked away, lots of thunder and lightning crashes, and the next morning, a different man is in his place.  For the next hour, the film follows his story, which parallells the first man's.  And the lover of this new, younger man (also the gangster's girl) is played by the same woman (Patricia Arquette) who plays the older man's (Bill Pullman) wife.  The younger man has lots of sex, gets involved with a gangster, and fears for his life because of his affair with the gangster's girl.  The man occasionally encounters a pale-faced, mysterious man played by Robert Blake, who you can never tell if he's a friend or foe.  The final act is inspired as well, but it's just not enough for me, and description won't help it make anymore sense either.

This summary is necessary in discussing the film, because the film still doesn't make any sense.  Lynch is so talented, yet he constantly squanders his talent making these nonsensical stories which you are either forced to accept on the terms he has given you or reject outright.  A real gag reflex ensues.  The thriller aspects are excellent, as is the music used to set the tone.  Some plot points -- if you can even call them that -- are inspired as well, and the dreamlike aura pervading the movie is perfect.  I don't want to quote Ebert here, but it fits yet again: the film seems to be full of ideas and director's notes for a better movie.  There are a whole bunch of great scenes here, but they seem incomplete, and don't quite add up.  Another swing and a miss for Lynch.  ** (5/10)

So there's my thoughts.  But since this kind of film is so subjective, some interpretations and comments would be welcome and helpful.

So why DON'T you just surrender yourself to the movie.  You don't want to like it or what?  You obviously realize what you have to do, yet you don't do it.  Not all movies can be watched the same way, you should know that

Because that would be allowing myself to accept gibberish as a valid film language.  Or rather, "Lynchian," or whatever you call the language in which he speaks.  I'm not alone in this, and I realize you have to be in a certain frame of mind to really like his movies.  "Liking" Lynch's movies aren't like "liking" any other movie, that's for sure.

chainsmoking insomniac:
I'm glad someone started a thread on this movie.  I think (like Mulholland Dr.) Lost Highway could have been a superb film, if only Lynch decided to give the audience a real story instead of self-indulgent, atmosphere/mood driven scenes with no real narrative.  
However, the visuals and camerawork are (as usual) terrific.  And Badalamenti, Badalamenti, BADALAMENTI!!!!  Not since Brion/PTA has there been such a powerful duo! :)

I agree with Ono.  Now don't misunderstand me, Lynch films are really cool to watch, but I get frustrated when he completely abandons a really cool story in order to ensure his trademark weirdness is branded on the film.

lost highway is a masterpiece. if you think it doesnt have a "narrative," well... i dont know what to tell you...


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