After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
Ok, so I hadn’t seen this before. It has always been on my list to watch but somehow fell through the cracks. Repeatedly. Even after it was voted the best film of the 21st Century by film critics, in a BBC Culture poll, it still remained absent from my watched list. Thankfully it was shown once again in the cinema and this time I jumped at the chance to watch this at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.
And I’m so glad that I did. This is a wonderfully complex film. Irreverent, aloof, stilted, awkward but oh so entertaining, beautiful to watch on the big screen and so, so intriguing. I had been warned beforehand about its impenetrable ability, about not knowing what is going on and, for the first two acts I was wondering what they meant. Then the third act happened and my grasp of what was happening slipped, with twists, turns, character swaps, alternate realities with the same actors but different characters it becomes a great big pile of confusion and mystery. And it is infuriating but deliciously so. I have been trying hard to create some kind of explanation for what happens, and why, but so far I have only hit snags, reasons for it not to work and turning me back to start again.
Naomi Watts is simply superb as Betty/Diane, giving unbreakable hope and brightness but also showing the flip side of desperation and darkness. There is so much emotion on show throughout this film and it only serves to deepen the experience. Naomi Watts relationship with Laura Harring’s amnesiac character Rita is wonderful, if a bit naive to begin with, but develops wonderfully well, the two of them being intrepid explorers into the unknown world of lost memories. The tangled web of stories that are playing out and also highly entertaining: Justin Theroux as director Adam Kesher, cuckolded by his wife and losing control of his movie, and his life, to a couple of suits, oh and a cowboy, sorry, THE Cowboy! Throw in numerous other cameos and performances, side stories and quirky moments and it all adds to the bizarreness of it all and firmly puts it onto another level. There is a connection between everyone but these connections all get switched and altered as we progress into the final act and it is the sheer complexity of this switch that has dumbfounded me.
David Lynch can surely craft a mindfuck of a film. What starts out as a fairly simple premise delves into something that is murkier and more complex that you could imagine. Maybe it has been made so that it is impenetrable and all this thinking about it is futile, that there is no solution. That would be fine, enjoy the film for what you can see but don’t try to follow the rabbit down the rabbit hole. Unfortunately my mind doesn’t work that way and I can feel that I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while yet! Strangely, the last film I watched that got me thinking this much also had Melissa George in it, albeit in a slightly more central role.
Mulholland Drive is a fantastic film, in my eyes. Beautifully done, great performances, compelling and intriguing storylines and a great big WTF for the ending. My journey continues!