Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland Drive (2001)

written and directed by David Lynch

There’s no easy way to speak about David Lynch’s often inscrutable brand of filmmaking, existing somewhere between the surreal and the darkly absurd. From his feature length debut Eraserhead (1977) to the seminal Blue Velvet (1986) and the groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Lynch approaches cinema like a painting, a succession of images meant to be felt, narrative or logic be damned. And it makes sense: Among other artistic endeavors, Lynch is also a painter, and his favorite artist Francis Bacon’s existentialist works are clearly reflected in his oeuvre.

Mulholland Drive sits comfortably as Lynch’s most impressive achievement post Twin Peaks. After a car crash in the Hollywood Hills, a woman (Laura Harring) develops amnesia and befriends Betty (Naomi Watts), a wannabe actress who wants to help her solve the mystery behind her memory loss. Who is she? Is someone out to kill her? And what does the strange blue key in her purse open? You may think this feels like a fairly standard detective story, but make no mistake: Lynch is not interested in clear answers, but rather in the moody landscape of dreams. While Mulholland Drive doesn’t make complete sense (or maybe it does?), it’s a tragic exploration of love and identity that will haunt you with its hallucinatory power. “Silencio.”

Rating: ***½

Carlos I. Cuevas