Film #48: Mulholland Drive (2001)

Directed by: David Lynch
Language: English (and some French and Spanish)
Length: 140 minutes
Watched on: 18 Jan 2012

I watched this film on the train on the way down to London, where I was leaving to catch my flight to Japan. By the time I got to Japan, even in the first week it felt like forever ago, and I was surprised that I still had the DVD with me and hadn’t left it at home. A lot has happened since I got here!

The film itself is complex, to say the least, but fairly ordinary fare for Lynch. I was fairly sure of what was going on up until the last 20 minutes, in which so many alternative readings of the film were offered up that I just wasn’t sure what to think anymore. Characters suddenly merged together or split apart, and some scenes seemed to be repeated with different actors. Before that it had had a fairly linear plot; after that I was no longer sure quite who was doing what to who, and what exactly was supposed to be a dream and what was reality.

But overall, I kind of sat back for a minute and realized that it doesn’t really matter what happened, since it’s a film and not reality, and I kind of embraced the fact that I wasn’t sure what was going on, and that the film could easily just be several stories wrapped confusingly up into one. So I enjoyed it in the end.

It was quite a dark and slow film for the most part. As with other Lynch works, such as Twin Peaks, which I’m still currently watching, it lapses into weird sequences sometimes, most of which are recalled in the final 20 minutes of the film when all the story threads get woven together. Partly for that reason, I feel sure that if I watch it again, I’ll notice lots of things that I didn’t the first time around, or I’ll be more likely to remember parts from the first act that resurface in the third.

So yeah, overall I’d give this a thumbs-up. Obviously it’s not for you if you’re not into confusing Lynchian works, but if you are it’s probably less accessible than Twin Peaks but more accessible than Inland Empire, for example. Mind you, if you’re actually into Lynchian works you’ll probably have seen this one, since it’s one of his most famous, so perhaps I should amend that to “confusing arthouse films” or some other such label. I liked it, anyway.

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