Getting lost on Mulholland Drive

By Myke Atkinson

This movie is fucked up.

Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I find it hard to critique a movie that I don’t truly understand. I figure that after reading a couple papers on the movie and seeing it about 14 more times, I should be up to speed with everything.

What started out as a pilot for an ABC series (and was quickly turned down), Mulholland Drive, the new movie from writer-director David Lynch (Lost Highway, Blue Velvet), is up for interpretation. Lynch, in keeping with his ideal of never revealing his plots to his viewers, created a masterpiece that overloads the senses while leaving the audience dumbfounded. Even the synopsis that is included with the press pack reads one line strong: "A love story in the city of dreams." But this is just the surface of a deeply complex and powerful movie.

The movie starts out as a bunch of unrelated soap opera-style scenes. There’s everything from a Canadian girl seeking stardom from Hollywood to a comical assassination that goes extremely wrong. Throughout the movie, the scenes slowly begin to take shape, constructing the consuming plot of Mullholland Drive.

The cinematography in the movie is brilliant and uses lighting and strange angles to capture the movie from a whole different perspective than most new films. One scene in particular has Naomi Watts as Diane (a.k.a. Betty for the first half of the movie), masturbating and bawling her eyes out simultaneously over her lost lesbian lover. The camera blurs in and out of focus as if seen through her tears.

In compliance with true David Lynch style, the background music is a blend of weird contemporary music and off-mood setting instrumentals. Once again, Angelo Badalamenti, who also did some of the scoring for Lost Highway, appears to create what Lynch sees as one of the most crucial parts of his movies–the instrumental fills. The music takes the movie to a higher plane. In one instance, it sends the viewers’ hearts pounding while staring at a white brick wall on the screen, and it’s solely the intensity of the music producing this effect.

This movie is not for the faint of heart, as it does not let audiences sit back and relax. For those looking for an evening of relaxing couch-potatoism, maybe something from Blockbuster would better suit your needs. This flick is for those wanting to send their brains on a rollercoaster of misconceptions and don’t mind going sleepless for a couple days.