In the early 60s a movement known as abstract art became a craze that had art critics reeling.† Many of the works were plain garbage, while others were intriguing displays of a new perspective on the visual arts. David Lynch is the cinematic equivalent of an abstract artist. His latest work Mullholland Drive, defies any rational explanation.† His gendre has been called film noir.†† Film noir is a filmmaking methodology that was first explored and developed in post WWII France. It breaks all the conventions of modern cinematography. Plot and theme are not essential to the development of the story, time and space are inverted, redirected and sometimes actually suspended, characters can exchange places and surrealism abounds.† With all these strange elements, film noir, in most cases, still strove for coherence.†
Lynch however, has dispensed with even that element in Mullholland Drive.† Remarkably though, I was not repelled or even confused by this impossible-to-make-sense-of piece.† Like abstract art, I simply enjoyed virtually every minute of it for its stylistic content.† This film has the Lynch imprint from the opening scene featuring teenage white kids dancing 1950s rock-n-roll.† There are possibly two or three discernible Ďstoriesí going on.† A woman whom has survived a murder attempt, develops amnesia, and struggles to find her identity with the help of an unlikely accomplice.† A director is assailed by underworld figures to cast their chosen female lead in a 1950s period movie.† Finally, a third woman (I think sheís another woman) is connected to the amnesiac and the Canadian girl that befriends her.† Thereís a lot of other stuff, but these ingredients are enough to tempt any possible viewer alone.
What appeals to me most in this film is the strangeness of its unfolding.† I was engulfed by every turn in the story line and enthralled by the sequence that examines illusion.† At one point the amnesiac character, Rita awakes and repeats in Spanish: There is no band.† Next, her and Betty (the pretty blond, Canadian girl that has befriended her) are in a theater watching an ominous series of staged events that demonstrate the unreality of their mental experiences.† This is one of the filmís best sequence.† It ends with a glamorous actress singing in Spanish of soulful love for her paramour, only to collapse and reveal, the songster herself was lip-synching.† This scene, like so many others bore no tangible relevance to other developments in Mullholland Drive. Yet, I didnít mind the oddity of this discontinuity.
I thought:† Uh well, itís a very complex dreamscape, and itís evocative, itís a classic non sequitur, but hey stop being a critic and watch.
When Lynch stitches together some meaningful plot elements, it seems more like a tease of the audience, than a real attempt give the picture context.† The bungled hit that a hired killer character attempts was both funny and unsettling.† The several reincarnations of the third woman named Diane, only served to confound viewers.† The gratuitous lesbian scene between, Rita and Betty, made the already hypnotic tone of the movie, more entrancing.† Still, this irrationality didnít make me shake my head thinking: What the hell is Lynch doing here.
So, to sum it up, Mullholland Drive is not a film for moviegoers unfamiliar with this unconventional directorís style.† But, for his fans, it is another work of art.