is the most brilliantly innovative and interesting filmmaker working today,
Drive is yet another masterpiece. Beautiful, ugly, poignant,
haunting, hilarious, dark, nightmarish, mesmerizing, thought-provoking,
a horror film? Like all things in the Lynchian universe, the answer
is an emphatic: yes and no.
the story about? The more proper question is: Is there a story? Again, there is and there isn't.
Drive is not so much a story as a series of events, veering off into
divergent tangents, surrealistically (but only partially) interconnected,
sometimes returning on a Mobius strip in new form, sometimes dropped and
forgotten, or lingering on a subconscious level.
to Lynch's dark and beautiful nightmare. You either love it or hate
Like Lynch's Blue
Drive opens in a hyper-idealized America. A perky all-American
girl (from Canada) with stars in her eyes wins a jitterbug contest -- 1950s
kitsch in a contemporary America permeated with anachronistic sensibilities. She arrives in Los Angeles, seen resplendently through her naive eyes.
Betty (from Archie comics?) played by Naomi Watts. In Mulholland
Drive, Betty's brunette foil is Rita (Laura Harring).
from L.A. noir. A dark femme fatale riding in the back seat of a
car, moving languorously, hypnotically, down Mulholland Drive. Rita's
mysterious identity is compounded by her attempted murder. Then a
strikingly brutal (and seemingly arbitrary) incident drastically alters
course of events.
is one of the few filmmakers who can pull off such seeming arbitrariness. His films' narrative subtext, cinematography, art direction, and music
create a surreal interconnectedness that fuse events together despite drastic
and seemingly arbitrary plot detours.
want to reveal too much. Mulholland
Drive should not be spoiled for those who've yet to see it.
driving down Mulholland Drive, Rita has amnesia. She wanders into
house. Betty -- who came to Hollywood to be star -- takes Rita under
her wing. Like Nancy
Drew, Betty is an innocent drawn to adventure. Innocent, because
no modern day Nancy Drew would last long in the dark and violent world
Betty is set to enter (and Rita, re-enter).
a common Lynchian theme: The innocent who is drawn to dark strangers living
corrupt lives under the Disneyfied surface of Americana. (It is tempting
to see Lynch, raised in Montana, as that innocent.)
Drive, Lynch (through Betty) pokes underneath Hollywood's glitter. Naturally, we find lies, corruption, power plays, egos, exploitation. The pain and heartbreak beneath Hollywood glitter is an old target, extending
back to the similarly titled Sunset
Boulevard. Yet remarkably, Lynch breathes starling new vigor into this well-trod tale.
plays involve a dwarf in a red room. And a cowboy, and much else
that remains unexplained. That is what Hollywood feels like for many. Actors wondering why they were not chosen. Directors wondering why
they were bumped off a project, or why a project was canceled.
Rita has a blue key. And there is a blue box, reminiscent of Hellraiser's
puzzle box. Mulholland
Drive's first hour can best be described as a noir mystery with Lynchian
overtones. That's confusing enough. But two hours inot the
film Rita finds the blue box, then during the last half hour things take
a metaphysical turn.
when in Twin
Peaks, Josie's form emerges from the wall at the Great Northern? And it's ever explained. No, that's not what happens with Rita's
blue box, but it's in the same territory. Lynch claims to be fascinated
by furniture. And by music, and much else. His films are less
linear stories than surreal journeys through his dark fascinations. The latter half of the film journeys deeper into those fascinations.
Drive was originally a pilot for an ABC TV series that was never picked
up. It was finished (as a feature film) with French money. That's one
explanation for the sudden turn of events midway through the film. But once again, Lynch makes it work.
is so much more in this film, but I won't spoil it by recounting the events.
this film alone, or at worst, with a mature audience. I saw it at
an IFP/ West screening at the L.A. Film
School. No doubt, the crowd imagined itself hip, trendy, sophisticated. Yet many laughed at the most inappropriate times. They laughed at
Betty's idealized entry into L.A., upsetting the scene's fine balance. (As in many horror films, Lynch's films establish a delicate tension between
unease and humor -- a tension whose beauty and poignancy and unease can
easily be weakened and destroyed by inappropriate laughs.)
is naive, but we are meant to empathize with her vision -- not laugh at
her. Remarkably, the IFP crowd also guffawed at a lesbian scene. I thought I was surrounded by a crowd of Beavis
Lynch has spent three years creating a website. Fans will want to
Review copyright by Thomas
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