Archive for July, 2013


This week I must apologise as I watched the wrong film… The eighth feature film directed by David Lynch is Straight Story, however due to a mishap with me accidentally looking at his writers credit when going to watch the film I accidentally watched Mulholland Drive!

Mulholland Drive however is an astounding film. Originally created as a TV pilot when it was rejected by the studios Lynch filmed some extra footage to round up loose ends and finished it as a feature film that is thoroughly entertaining and full of meaning.

THE PLOT

When aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts) arrives in Hollywood, she finds that a amnesiac woman, Rita, is staying in her aunt’s house. Betty and Rita thus set out to figure out what happened; gathering clues that lead them to Mulholland Drive, a Winkies diner and a TV Studio amongst other places. The film explores dreams and reality in a unique way and at no point ‘spoon feeds’ the audience.

THE GOOD

When watching the film it is difficult not become creeped out. The film throws you right into the deep end and for a long time you have literally no idea what is going on… not that it really matters, every scene has something unique and mesmerizing about it that I found myself really not caring that the characters where caricatures on the verge of extreme, particularly Naomi Watts fresh faced actress.

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As expected the film follows the Lynch pattern and contains several bizarre characters that help to move the story; in this film they include a cowboy, a coffee-spitter and a crazy old lady. However one of the most bizarre roles is given to Justin Theroux who plays film director Adam Kesher. In a blatant parody of how the studio system in the US exploits their directors, Kesher is forced to hire a lead actress whom he doesn’t believe correct for the part in a series of strange encounters and vague threats. Amongst all this he also discovers his wife is having an affair in what is a brilliant comic moment of the film.

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It is difficult to explain the film without giving away spoilers and therefore I won’t say much other than that the last half hour of the film is a true wonder and does a really good job of fixing the plot-holes from the TV pilot and rounding everything off to a point where it mostly makes sense. This portion of the film contains a new set of characters played by the same cast members and is extremely confusing to figure out, but once it clicks is ridiculously clever.

 

THE BAD

It is difficult to think of anything bad with this film as it is so enjoyable; however I do have a small problem in that a few scenes (not containing the main cast) seemed to be a little pointless. For example there is a scene when two policemen discuss the car crash but are never seen again – these scenes most likely appeared as bigger characters in the TV pilot but in the film should, in my opinion have been cut or altered in some way.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Mulholland Drive is a wonderful David Lynch, which could be seen as a darker, cleverer version of Blue Velvet. 5 Lynchs.

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This weeks film was Lost Highway, a film I had previously seen whilst drinking and had little memory of apart from the bizarreness of the storyline. Re-watching the film was an intriguing experience and the film is enjoyable in a way that only David Lynch can provide.

 

THE PLOT

The film has begins following a saxophonist through his day to day life, before he randomly morphs into a younger mechanic. This new character has already lived his full life and has no memory of the other character, leading to some strange encounters and lots of complicated twists towards the end.

 

THE GOOD

The film is as strange a film as you are likely to see and with all Lynch’s best work is so because the world in which it is set is based on our reality, with added touches of oddness.

There are several scenes which stand out as being particularly good and clever use of filmmaking such as the contrast between loud jazz scenes full of strobe lighting and quiet conversations. However it is the input of the ‘Mystery Man’ that makes the film.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 17.13.30

This man has a pale face, reminiscent of the Emperor in Star Wars, and a creepy smile. He appears at key points in the film and speak in strange metaphors. One of the creepiest moments in this film (and it is a creepy film) comes as he videotapes the saxophonist sleeping and leaves the tapes on the doorstep. As the the man watches the videotape the output becomes increasingly frightening.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 17.13.47

The film keeps the Lynch cinematic style of using wide angle shots that are perfectly framed rather than cutting constantly, this as always add a tone to the film that intrigues the audience without boring them.

The film also contains the kind of dark wit for which Lynch is famous for writing; there is a moment when an evil characters chases down a car and beats the man for ‘tailgating’ quoting the average stopping distance in a moment of genius comedy and surrealitty.

 

THE BAD

The film is very intriguing and my main problems come from the narrative and the little explanation there is (although this is probably the point). Neither the saxophonist or the mechanic are given a proper exposition so there is little to like about them and therefore as the narrative moves forward there is little reason to care; particularly when the first character is simply forgotten for 45 minutes.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Lost Highway is a good film; creepy, confusing and original. It is a must see for any Lynch fan although a difficult watch if you don’t know what to expect.

4 Lynchs.

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Firstly I must apologise to my readership for posting this a day late; there have been some problems beyond my control that prevented me from posting on time but oh well, on with the review.

This weeks film is one I have been looking forward to since the start of the challenge. I am a huge fan of the Lynch’s TV show Twin Peaks; loving the quirky universe, which is created, however have never got around to watching the film which is a prequel of sorts.

THE PLOT

The film is split into two parts; the first involves two FBI agents (Keifer Sutherland and Chris Isaak) investigating the recent murder of Teresa Banks. Then after a brief cameo from David Lynch himself and Kyle Machlachlan reprising his role as Agent Dale Cooper; the film shifts to the town of Twin Peaks and we are shown the weeks build up to the death of Laura Palmer.

THE GOOD

The film is very much in the tone of the TV series; with absurdity contrasted seriousness in such a unique way that it is impossible to not be entertained. There are the usual Twin Peak moments of stereotype characters such as the local sherriff who makes bad jokes about coffee.

There is also a few moments of pure terror within the film particularly towards the end of Laura Palmer’s storyline when she is haunted by the threatening prescence of ‘Bob’. There is a also a strange sequence involving David Bowie which makes absolutely no sense but is very intriguing to watch.

Several scenes in the film are set within the Black Lodge and as in the series these scenes look astounding with the red curtains, creepy statues, ziz-zag floor all coming together to create a world that is terrifying.

THE BAD

The problem with the film is that for all the good parts (and there are a few) it is simply too difficult to understand. The shift in the narrative at the mid-way point is not explained at all and really shocking as there is no closure as to what has been happening. It then restarts with the story of Laura Palmer and this whole section feels forced and silly, particularly with the way some of the cameos from the TV series are just thrown in.

With a knowledge of the TV show I could just about fathom what was happening however I couldn’t help but think that if I who hadn’t watched the show I would have no idea what was going on; there is no real exposition; things happen that make sense in one way but no sense in the other making the film a headache and a drag.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me is as strange a film as you will get; however it is let down by a ridiculous narrative and lack of justification in anything. The entire film feels simply pointless and was a huge disappointment. 2 Lynchs.

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This weeks film was Wild At Heart and was once I was looking forward too as I knew it contained Nic Cage going crazy and doing Elvis impressions (something which sounds fantastic).

 

THE PLOT

After being released from jail young lovers Sailor (Nicolas Cage) and Lula (Laura Dern) run across the country whilst being pursued by Lula’s mother and variety of strange goons.

THE GOOD

The film is very Lynchian in that it takes reality and puts a strange twist upon it; however in this film the line is not as blurred as it was in last weeks Blue Velvet. The characters are all typically Lynch odd with strange obsessions and traits. Nic Cage playing an Elvis loving, snakeskin jacket wearing vagrant is the obvious stand out to the cast as he brings with him the flair and entertainment value which only he is truly capable.

The film is stuffed full of sex and violence; it begins with Cage beating some guy with his bare hands on a staircase in what in probably the best scene in the film. The violence is in no manner played down throughout the film with each punch taken or given felt and plenty of fake-blood being used.

The sexual scenes in the film are also filmed very stylistic with each ending with a flash to a colour (normally red). In one extended sequence of lovemaking there is a flash to each colour of the rainbow intercut with the couples in a variety of positions.

Amongst all this violence the film is also full of references to the Wizard of Oz; even to the extent that when in extreme danger Laura Dern clicks her heels together three times in an attempt to escape from the world and return home. However she is not in Oz she is in the universe of David Lynch and therefore such an easy escape is impossible. She is forced to endure further torment.

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 14.23.27

The film contains several cameos from actors such as Crispin Glover and Isabella Rossellini in roles as insane goons. These ‘goons’ are sent to hunt and murder Cage and Dern but find themselves stopped by their own obsessions and quirks. The standout of all these characters however comes in the performace of Willem Dafoe in the role of the least insane goon. Dafoe spends much of the film playing games with the other characters and showcasing his horrible teeth; it is at times hilarious and at other creepy to watch him.

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 14.23.02

THE BAD
For all the great characters in the film it is let down greatly by the narrative. The story is thin and tiring with very little to it. The film feels as if it was made simply by Lynch putting crazy characters, sex and violence into a movie to see what happened. Characters lack motivation and depth making them almost boring even if they are insane.

In last weeks review of Blue Velvet I discussed how that film bordered the line between reality and oddness perfectly to create a charming universe. Wild at Heart however shows what happens when the balance is off; the characters make this film consistently weird meaning that all sense is reality is lost. Meaning that scenes such as bank robberies lose their impact.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Wild At Heart is an average film with some good characters but very little plot. 3 Lynchs.

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