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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

04.18.2002

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flick pick | Mulholland Drive 2001
Directed + written by: David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
drama
Watch it when youíre in the mood for
something: artsy-fartsy, mindbending 
The critic says: Ĺ/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: Ĺ/5

Plot synopsis A glamorous brunette named Rita [Harring] finds herself possibly being kidnappped by two strange men in Hollywood, but manages to escape when the car crashes on Mulholland Drive. Rita crawls away from the wreckage with no memory of whatís happened, but an instinct to run away. She ends up stumbling into a nearby apartment complex, where she sees an older woman preparing to leave her apartment on a trip. The empty apartment seems like a good hiding spot, and Rita sneaks in. When the apartment ownerís niece Betty [Watts], a perky small-town blonde with aspirations of movie stardom, arrives to housesit, she finds Rita cowering in the bedroom. Sweet and naÔve as Betty is, she doesnít do the sensible thing of calling the police, but instead offers to let Rita stay so that she can help her uncover the truth about Ritaís identity Ė and why she has a purse crammed full of money, along with a mysterious blue key. This being a David Lynch movie, things only get weirder from here Ö

Review Itís been a long, long time since Iíve loved anything Iíve seen by David Lynch. Like many a late 20something, I got hooked on that particular Lynch brand of gorgeously unsettling weirdness back in my high school days, when Twin Peaks got me obsessing about Laura Palmer and the Log Lady, Agent Cooper and cherry pies, backwards-talking midgets in red-curtained rooms. Just about every Lynch movie Iíve seen since has been a minor letdown (with the possible exception of The Elephant Man) Ė all too weird for weirdís sake, with no discernible reason why -- but Mulholland Drive just about makes up for those years of disappointment. With Mulholland Drive, the surreal dream logic that permeates just about all of David Lynchís movie universes finally seems 100% persuasive, even though it doesnít follow our normal rules of rational reasoning. Ask anyone what they think just after the lights go on after their first viewing, and youíre likely to hear one three answers: 1) "Itís genius!"; 2) "Itís pretentious crap."; or 3)"I really donít get it." Iím still not sure I fully get Mulholland Drive, but I do know that I liked it enough to want to try. Thereís been a whole lot of talk about how Mulholland Drive makes perfect sense if you view it in a certain way (which Iím not going to tell you because I think it spoils the viewing experience if youíve read the interpretations ahead of time), and while a large part of why I think the movie is so great is the way it challenges you to hunt for the meanings Ė whatís up with the blue box? and the Silencio club? and that cowboy? -- youíll love the movie a whole lot more if you save the over-analyzing for afterwards. See, the best way to enjoy Mulholland Drive is to abandon linear thought and simple cause-effect explanations from the very start: let yourself get sucked into the hypnotic pacing, which starts off slow and deliberate before twisting and turning its way into a more nightmarishly fevered tempo, and sink into the voluptuous visuals and hauntingly atmospheric sounds. Itís a true cinematic dream Ė and like any good dream, you have to go with the flow to let the dream lead you anywhere interesting.
óreviewed by Y. Sun

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