13 ago. 2013

My Review: Mulholland Drive (5/10)

"Now you will see me one more time, if you do good. You will see me, two more times, if you do bad. Good night"

Mulholland Drive is considered by many one of the best films of the last decade (2001-09) and among David Lynch's best work. There is no denying that Lynch is one of today's most revered directors, but this is actually the first film of his that I've been able to see. Unfortunately I wasn't able to enjoy this movie as much as everyone else did and I'm ashamed to admit that Lynch is way to smart for me. While watching this film I felt that there were several scenes that didn't make much sense and that the director was just being pretentious showing his craft and great skills, but after reading the Hulk's critique of this film explaining every single detail in the movie I have to admit that Lynch was a genius and I just didn't get the movie in the same way others did. Looking back I realize that every scene has a meaning and the film is rich in symbolism and semiotics. Despite paying attention to the film I missed very important things that I can now see were really thought out by Lynch. I feel ashamed because I wasn't able to grasp the film in the same way Lynch would have wanted me to and I felt everything was pointless. The performances in this film are really great but I was never drawn into the film in the same way others were. I guess I'm not someone who cares too much about dreams or puts too much thought into them and their underlying meanings. What I did enjoy about this film were the satirical elements introduced by Lynch about the film industry in Hollywood. The characters were really well developed and the mood of the film is suspenseful at times. I also enjoyed the score of the film and thought it really added to the overall eeriness of Mulholland Drive. I might enjoy this film more if I watch it again now that I have understood most of the underlying meanings and symbolisms here, but I just can't gather myself to watch it again because I was never absorbed by the story and found everything rather dull.

Betty (Naomi Watts) is a young aspiring actress who has just arrived at Hollywood from a small Canadian town. Her aunt, a successful actress herself, has allowed her to stay at her home while she is off shooting a movie. When Betty arrives at her apartment she is surprised to find out that there is a young woman already there. This beautiful brunette is suffering from amnesia after surviving a terrible car accident right before she was about to get murdered and has decided to hide in the apartment after seeing Betty's aunt leave. She thinks her name is Rita (Laura Harring), but she can't remember anything else. Betty decides to help her and allows her to stay with her. In the meantime there are a few other stories taking place. On the one hand we have a director (Justin Theroux) who is looking for a lead actress to replace the one that has disappeared. The producers want to force him to choose Camila Rhodes (Melissa George), but he refuses. There are also a series of detectives (Robert Forster and Brent Briscoe) trying to solve a murder, and a hit man (Joe Messing) who is a little inept at his job. All these stories seem to overlap each other as everything is connected, but at the same time not everything is what it seems as the line between dreams and reality is a very thin one.

I love films that aren't told in chronological order like this, but I had trouble here putting all the pieces together. Now that I was able to understand it all I can see how brilliant Lynch was using all these different imageries. This is a film about transferring guilt and romanticizing love in an otherwise cruel and dark world. Lynch is always in control of his craft here, but he was way ahead of me and truly lost me. Naomi Watts had a breakout performance here, and she is now one of Hollywood's best known actresses, but this will be the role many will remember her for. Laura Harring is also great here as the needy and vulnerable character that Betty wants her (or fantasizes her) to be. Mulholland Dr. is a very complex and thrilling mystery that begins to make sense long after you've seen it. Is succeeds in the fact that the images stay with you and haunt you, but I really didn't have a pleasurable experience watching it. This is a very ambiguous film and Lynch has written a fabulous screenplay, but one that I wasn't prepared for. This is a very dark film that plays out as a contemporary film noir. Lynch was nominated as best director for his work here, but surprisingly it didn't receive any other nomination in 2001. The film has garnered cult status over the years and I understand why. I'm a little disappointed with myself for not enjoying this as much as I should have.

Rating: 5.9/10

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