General Release 2001
146 minutes approx
Laura Elena Harring
Adam Kesher -
Directed by -
Written by -
An actress called Betty arrives in Los Angeles to seach for stardom, staying in the apartment of her absent aunt. There, she finds a woman who calls herself Rita since she is suffering from a bout of amnesia brought on by a car crash. Strangely drawn to Rita's plight, Betty helps her to investigate her background and together they come across a large amount of money, a dead body and a blue box that, once opened, changes everything.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE is a David Lynch film and anyone who has seen a David Lynch film should know what to expect. For nearly two hours, the plot plays out in a stylish, but relatively straightforward fashion, making this the most accessible thing that the director had done since TWIN PEAKS, which it resembles quite closely apart from being set in Hollywood rather than on the Canadian border. This is partly because the original idea for MULHOLLAND DRIVE was as the pilot for a TWIN PEAKS style TV show set in Hollywood that never came to be.
Then things take a turn for the wierd as the pair visit a strange performance club, magically receive a blue box, which is opened and suddenly the actresses are in the roles of minor characters barely seen in the main part of the film and a whole new story kicks off in an entirely different direction, but riffing cleverly on what we have already seen. Is this the real life to what was previously a dream? Is this the dream to what was the reality? Are they alternate realities? Is the neighbour really psychic? What's with the old, grinning couple and the ugly wizard behind the diner?
To try and make sense of MULHOLLAND DRIVE's sudden narrative shift and the wierdness that comes with it is to probably miss the point. MULHOLLAND DRIVE isn't there to be understood it is there to be experienced. Some of it probably only makes sense to David Lynch and probably only ever will. The emotional core of the film, though, is something else and that is quite captivating from the very start to the very end and it is powered by two enormously powerful performances from Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts as (initially anyway) Rita and Betty.
The performances from these two actresses alone make this film worth watching over and over. Both are absolutely outstanding and drive the film along in both parts, changing roles completely as Harring goes from confused amnesiac to manipulative bitch and Watts goes from upbeat naif to downtrodden mess. Both are startling changes of pace and compelling in their own right. The chemistry is astonishing and we're not just talking the erotic love scenes. These two performances alone are enough to make the film utterly unmissable.
The Blu Ray release also gives full value to the wonderful cinematography. Even whilst he is biting the hand that once fed him, Lynch evokes the glamour and colour of Hollywood at its best.
MULHOLLAND DRIVE isn't for everyone, but those that go there will be challenged and richly rewarded.
If this page was useful to you please sign our