***Official 'MULHOLLAND DRIVE' Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Reuben, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    After playing the New York Film Festival, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive opened in local commercial theaters today (technically, last night). It expands to general distribution this weekend, though I doubt you'll see this one on 3000 screens (or even 2000).
    It's been a long wait. MD was originally conceived and shot as a pilot for an ABC television series. After much back and forth, editing, reshoots, ABC decided to drop the hot potato. Lynch then redid MD as a feature-length film and took it to Cannes, where it got him the 2001 best director award (shared with Joel Coen). Now it can finally be seen by audiences.
    I'm not sure how to review this film. If you're a Lynch fan, the turf is familiar and so are the motifs: the languorous pacing, the moody Angelo Badalamenti score, the distinctive sound design, the fascination with decay and putrefaction, the flickering lights and red drapes, the Roy Orbison songs in strange contexts. What it all means here isn't something I'm prepared to try to express on a single viewing. As I was walking out of the theater, I overheard one person who kept insisting to his companion that the whole thing was just a dream. I wanted to turn around and say: "So is every Lynch film!" That's why they're hard to analyze on an initial viewing; you just have to let yourself be carried along.
    For most of the first two hours, MD focuses on two women: Rita, who has amnesia from a car accident, and Betty, a fresh-faced ingenue newly arrived in Los Angeles with all the stereotypical hopes of becoming an actress. There is an elaborate subplot about a director whose film is in trouble and whose wife is unfaithful, and as is often the case with Lynch, there appears to be a shadowy criminal conspiracy doing a bunch of nefarious things that are never quite clear. In the last half hour, these events (and other subplots too numerous to list) begin to fragment and combine in ways that are probably impossible to explain logically but somehow feel like they make sense. In other words, dream logic.
    I still think of Blue Velvet as Lynch's most fully realized film, primarily because it never breaks the illusion of a traditional narrative, even as the "plot" (such as it is) becomes more and more irrelevant and subordinate to the dream logic. MD falls somewhere between Blue Velvet and Lost Highway -- it has more traditional narrative than the latter, but much less than the former. And there are parts that don't seem to belong in the film at all. (An elaborate setup with "Mr. Roque", who appears to run the studio financing the director's film, seems to have been included just so Lynch could once again cast Michael Anderson, who played The Dwarf in Twin Peaks.)
    From comments Lynch has made to interviewers, I think the film makes most sense as an interplay between the eternal hope and endless possibility that Los Angeles seems to offer to those newly arrived there and the numerous ways that the possibilities are eliminated and the hopes betrayed. But that's only based on one viewing. The film could easily play very differently the next time I see it.
    A word of caution: As usual, Lynch designed the soundmix himself. IMO, it's wholly unsuited to today's multiplexes because it relies heavily on silence. At times you may think the theater's volume level has been turned down, but it hasn't. It's just that the full dynamic range is utilized in only a few brief scenes. Otherwise, the soundtrack tends to be quiet, dominated by dialogue (often spoken softly) and distant ghostly echoes. It's a lovely mix, but one not likely to stand up against the coughing, wheezing, rustling, coming and going, popcorn crunching and cellophane crumbling that are an inescapable part of modern movie-going. I saw MD with a serious, opening-day audience, and even then the ambient noise from the crowd was a major distraction. I can't begin to imagine what it might be like with a typical Saturday-night crowd. My advice: Sit toward the front of the auditorium. The soundtrack is almost all in the front.
    As a matter of principal, I never give ratings or stars. With a film like MD, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wasn't already a Lynch fan.
    M.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on October 08, 2001 at 11:52 PM]
     
  2. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    8,320
    Likes Received:
    1,836
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Real Name:
    Valentino
    Great Post Michael. You're The Man Too! [​IMG]
    Seriously, thanks for the review Michael. It sounds like classic Lynch. I have no problem with the quirkiness or pace of his films since that it what make him such a unique and talented filmmaker.
    I have enjoyed all of his films more or less so I expect this one to fit nicely in the Lynch cannon.
    Somewhere in between Blue Velvet and Lost Highway eh? I loved both of those films so
    to me, that's a ringing endorsement. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus.
     
  3. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  5. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2000
    Messages:
    2,958
    Likes Received:
    22
    I'd say it was more like Twin Peaks than any of his other films. I enjoyed it overall, but thought that some individual scenes worked much better than the whole. My favorite scene was Betty's audition -- some great acting there.
    About the quiet sound -- I didn't even notice. what can I tell you -- see the movies at the NYFF -- no popcorn on the premises.
    Ted
     
  6. tyler O

    tyler O Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am so eagerly awaiting this one I don't even think I could tell you just how much I anticipate this title. The last time that a lynch came out proper (Lost Highway) I was dealing with the loss of my father. (I do feel that Straight Story was excellent, and I own it, and fit perfectly in his repertoire, but... proper) Now my wife chooses to part our ways and his next film comes out. Funny how life works sometimes... At least after my move to Atlanta/Duluth I will have a much better chance of catching this than in the Athens area. I can only hope that if/when the DVD comes out Mr. Lynch does us the service of providing the pilot as it was originally done as well. That would be nice to see the Works in Progress method that his directing was forced to take with this film...
    (For what it's worth, my other browser window has the interview with John Neff from dugpa.com open. Synchronicities abound again...)
    ------------------
    Share and Enjoy - The marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
    The difference between 0 and 1 is infinite.
    My DVDs
     
  7. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 1999
    Messages:
    3,649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Spoilers
    Spoiler:I think the movie makes a lot more sense if you try to look at the movie from end to beginning.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] outta [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ~T
    [Edited last by Thi Them on October 10, 2001 at 08:24 PM]
     
  8. Chris Dugger

    Chris Dugger Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 1998
    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    1
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Mulholland Drive". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link .
    Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review!
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Dugger
    [Edited last by Chris Dugger on October 11, 2001 at 09:46 AM]
    [Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 11, 2001 at 05:08 PM]
     
  9. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 1999
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    0
    Strangely enough, I think The Straight Story and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me are the only David Lynch movies I'd seen prior to this. (I've caughts part of Wild at Heart but never the whole thing. The Twin Peaks movie made no sense since I hadn't watched the show.)
    I really liked this a lot. Narratively fractured surrealist films aren't exactly the currency of modern, mainstream cinema, and I doubt this will catch on at the multiplexes, but for those looking for a fully realized work of art, with a director at the top of his game, then I think it should work.
    I have some ideas as to what the film is about as a whole, but I really need more time to think about it just having seen it this morning.
    A note on the soundtrack: the projectionist told me that Lynch sent a note with the print to turn the sound up louder than usual. Lynch is apparently aware of concerns like Michael's in regard to ambient theater noise. Luckily, the critics only screenings tend to be quiet.
    At this point, Mulholland Drive ranks among the year's best, IMO.
    ------------------
    Read my reviews at www.dvdmon.com
    Most recent reviews: Mississippi Mermaid, Un Flic, How to Get Ahead in Advertising: The Criterion Collection, WarGames, Open Your Eyes, Waiting for Guffman, Maelstrom
    Most recent column: Panning P&S
     
  10. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2000
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    SPOILERS!!!
    One of the things I liked best about Mulholland Drive is that it doesn't take place in real time. It's progression is linear but it begins and ends on the same moment. The street Mullholland Drive overlooks LA from the Hollywood hills. In this sense, I see the film as being about Los Angeles as the beginning and end of all dreams. Throughout the film characters go from their saddest moments to their happiest moments. They are not individual people. They drift in and out of each other. Though I haven't seen the film in several weeks, it's telling when the Soderbergian-director is rehearsing that scene in the car, he tells the actress something like "I just want to drift into you." This is a beautiful Lynch film, and a very surreal indictment of Hollywood.
    Mark
     
  11. Ken_Pro

    Ken_Pro Extra

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just got back from my second viewing of "Mulholland Drive." A confession: David Lynch is one of my heroes. "Blue Velvet" is my favorite movie of all time. I don't just watch his stuff, I consume it, and there has never, ever been a time when I felt bad after seeing something he made. I always feel better, and happier, even if what I see is tragic or gruesome. If it's true that we all have a "spot," Lynch hits my "spot" more than any other moviemaker.
    So take that bias into account when I say that "Mulholland Drive" is a masterpiece. It is GOOD, very good....it's funny, creepy, beautiful to look at, well-paced, well-acted, and it has a cool soundtrack. It is also very GREAT.....this is a truly original, fascinating Hollywood mystery. I don't want to give anything away, because even the flimsiest plot summary would be a deception.
    After seeing it the first time, there were more questions in my head than answers.
    Now that I've seen it a second time, it makes perfect sense. And it was still a blast to sit through. I want to see it again, again. And again.
    I'll probably say more later or on the discussion thread. Right now I'm tapping my foot to the soundtrack.
     
  12. Jay W

    Jay W Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1999
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just got back from seeing the film. Though I agree with Michael's comments overall, I encourage those (you have to be a little patient and let yourself go) who haven't seen other David Lynch work to go and take a look at this. Aside from The Elephant Man, Dune and Twin Peaks I hadn't seen any other films by Lynch, including his infamous Straight Story and Blue Velvet.
    After trying to make sense of everything for a while, I settled down and enjoyed this movie - and honestly it flowed rather well through the near 2.5 hours. At the heart of it, it's not really very complex IMHO, the problem occurs when trying to whittle down every detail in the movie to try and unravel a semblance of a 'linear' plot (what? you thought it would continue? [​IMG]). The finale (final 45 mins or so) is something to be enjoyed, and though being rather sureal makes sense (and doesn't at all in some ways) in the context of the whole picture once you've had some time to mull over the film from beginning to end.
    Spoiler:Or as Thi correctly put it, from end to beginning
    A typical Hollywood 'fairy'tale told from a very unique perspective. Beautifully photographed, with very impressive performances, particularly by Watts - right up there as one of the best of the year so far IMO. I enjoy movies that take me on a tour of the director's canvas, away from reality (hard to put into words, but where I worry less about watching a 'movie' and just get caught up in it) - this was the first film in a while that had that effect. I wasn't particularly a Lynch fan going in but I think I may be converted now [​IMG]. Great film.
    [Edited last by Jehan on October 22, 2001 at 01:28 AM]
     
  13. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    8,320
    Likes Received:
    1,836
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Real Name:
    Valentino
    What a damn difficult film to review!
    First off, I liked it temendously and pretty much agree with Michael's and others observations that it is one of the years best, most original films. It was surreal, beautiful, funny, sad, and confoundingly unique.
    This film had so many trademark "Lynchings" [​IMG]. The couple in the beginning with the strange grimmaces. Closeups of telephones, bags, keys, death. Deafening silence, explosive bursts of sound and music. Great acting all around especially by the two female leads.
    The plot is very intricate and I will echo the sentiment that this film requires at least one more viewing from me to try and put it all together. IMO, first and foremost, it is a mystery. Whose mystery it is is part of what I'll try and figure out.
    Highly recommended. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus.
     
  14. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 1999
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    0
    Took this in for a second time. Not that I found it terribly confusing the first time around, but it makes more "sense" on viewing #2. Best film of the year to this point.
     
  15. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    The beauty of just adding one’s thoughts to a review thread already started by someone else is that others have already done the background work on the film itself (history, plot synopsis, etc.) that I don’t need to spend the time in doing it. So, Michael and others, thanks for all the comments. Now, let me just add a few of mine.
    Earlier this year, audiences were blessed with a French film called, With A Friend Like Harry, which some viewed as a “thriller”. I happen to interpret the underlying narrative in a different way and found it to be a well-written and highly intelligent film – a very rewarding experience.
    Now, David Lynch unleashes his latest effort, Mulholland Drive. And just like Harry, how one interprets Lynch’s underlying narrative will determine one’s enjoyment of this film.
    The film is a critique of the Hollywood system itself and David Lynch is able to pull it off quite nicely. The key to understanding this film is to take each character separately and differently from another character the same actor plays in another part of the film. Is it a dream, imagined or simply just another character that David Lynch is able to conjure?
    Mulholland Drive, with its fragmented narrative, is easily one of this year’s most challenging and admirable films. Whoever said that I am not able to appreciate films with a fragmented narrative? [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
    ------------------
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/005780.html#8 http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006466.html
    [Edited last by Edwin Pereyra on October 24, 2001 at 12:42 AM]
     
  16. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    I absolutely loved this movie. Everything about it. I have not in the past been the biggest David Lynch fan, but I really loved this one. Managed to convey the feeling of a dream/nightmare frighteningly well. If you try to interpret the movie literally you are in for trouble (or rather, the movie is in for trouble). Rather, I found the film entirely (and successfully) appeals to emotions rather than logic/reason - just like dreams. A friend I saw this with gave the following synopsis - he thought that the movie was about how time is circular and how we all live our lives over and over with different results (within the same framework of people, things, etc). I agreed with him, but added that he uses Hollywood/film industry as a symbol for this phenomenon.
     
  17. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    0
    Before I start the spoiler part, I first have to say that Naomi Watts goes on my "list" of the most beautiful females ever put on celluloid [​IMG] Laura Herring ain't to bad either [​IMG]
    Spoiler:
    I thought it was brilliant, and I'm not usually a Lynch fan. Perhaps I am now. After the ending, the plot points are fairly obvious: Betty/Diane is insanely in love with Rita/Camille and imagines them in a relationship. When Camille marries Adam, she hires a hitman and has her killed. Plot aside, what really got to me was unbelievably accurate way he portrayed dreams. You know, when you dream, things creep in that you've seen the previous day, heard on the radio, names you know, etc.. I've had dreams that took in, twisted and distorted things in my real life -- ex girlfriends, ex-coworkers, situations at work, that scene in Band of Brothers where all the NCOs are going to resign, Beatles records, etc.. Lynch essentially tells you what happens throughout the entire movie by sprinkling in bits of real life and facts within Diane's dream -- which I think all takes place AFTER she has her killed. She even portends her own suicide when the police come to get her. And did the final montage remind anyone else of the final sequence in "Blue" ? I dunno, the images of the main characters juxtaposed against scenes from the movie, it's general dreamlike feel, it all felt so Kieslowski-ian. In fact, it was VERY much a Kieslowski "double life" plot. Twisted to the extreme, yes, but still very much like we've all seen before from KK.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2001
    Messages:
    4,782
    Likes Received:
    133
    Real Name:
    John Steffens
    I REALLY liked this movie. The #1 movie of 2001 for me.
    I'm still pieceing this movie together, and will need to see it about 1-2 more times.
    This film is so creepy, memorizing, bizzare, sexual and brillant.
    Acting and story/writting is up to par!
    Direction and the way the camera is placed and the music surronding the scenes. SIMPLY BRILLANT!
    I sure hope the DVD is a MEGA special edition.
    EVERYBODY NEEDS to see this movie!!
    RATING=A+
    ------------------
     
  19. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    Messages:
    1,352
    Likes Received:
    0
    My 2 cents, some spoilers after the second paragraph [​IMG]
    I saw Mulholland Drive 3 weeks ago and 3000 miles away from home, so please forgive the vagueness of my recollection. I tend to absorb Lynch films on a very subjective, visceral level and a film like MD tailors to such a viewer, IMO.
    I was always a huge fan of Lost Highway, for the same reasons I love MD. David Lynch's ability to capture a dream state (or nighmare state) has never been more finely honed that it is in MD. I can't help but compare Lost Highway to his latest effort, since both share a fractured narrative and (like most of his projects) an undercurrent of subterfuge and implied violence. That said, MD first dazzles you with Betty's disarming and hopeful naivete. While first unsettled by her caricature, the introduction of the perenially confused Rita endeared me to these two women in no time at all. There were so many little details, interpretable and minute, scattered throughout the picture. (the box, the hobo, the espresso (!), the cowboy)
    ***Spoilers Below*** (I haven't yet learned how to initialize the spoiler bars, sorry.)
    Unlike Lost Highway, the relatively conventional Nancy Drew narrative (first third) really invests time in their relationship and budding romance, and Betty's aspirations for stardom. Although initially amused by Betty's plastered smile, I noticed her performance became more nuanced as she delved deeper into the mystery.
    I agree with what Roger Ebert said in his review, that the Silencio Theatre sequence is an important one -- perhaps the most important in the film. The characters' reactions to the mute puppet on stage mirror my own -- tears and all -- and inexorably hooked me to them. It's no surprise that Lynch chooses this moment to turn everything on it's head and wrench you from Betty and Rita for the latter third of the film, alienating us from that initial universe, strange but playful and innocent. This new world is gritty and frustrated.
    I found myself more involved with the Diane and Camille archetypes introduced in these latter sequences. Diane's beleaguered cynicism and Camille's icy manipulation revealed the first part of the film for what it was... a hopeful fantasy gone awry. The surreality of Betty's initial nativete, realized as a figment of Diane's desperate agony (IMO), suddenly makes complete sense.
    Forgive me if anyone has raised this point before, but was it just my imagination, or does Diane see the waitress "Betty" working at the Diner? If the narrative is indeed fractured, maybe "Betty" is a chipper, perky waitress whose attitude provides a perfect vessel for Diane's flash-fevered fantasies later on. [​IMG]
    My Score: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The other fantastic comments in this thread have already dissected MD in ways I could never articulate, so I won't repeat those. Needless to say, this was my favorite film of the year! Thanks for listening!
    Cheers,
    Joseph
     
  20. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2000
    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    0
    This film was my friend's initiation into the world of David Lynch. Mulholland Drive has now replaced Crash as the worst movie ever, as far as he's concerned.
    Having seen most of Lynch's other work, I'll be a bit more forgiving. I fully expected a "switch" of sorts, as well as the "dream logic" required to make any sense of this film. As a result, I think I understand most of what happened, without any help from Salon.com or this thread. [​IMG]
    That said, I had a difficult time getting into any of the characters but Adam and the hitman, probably due to the pacing and comedic situations they were in. Most of the early scenes between Betty and Rita seem interminably long due to the slow, wooden delivery of lines by Naomi Watts (although both her acting and her character improve drastically as the film progresses).
    I can't recommend this film. I didn't hate it, but the only lasting impression it leaves with me is a reinforcement of my belief that (genius or no genius) Lynch is a freak. On the whole, it's as forgettable as most of the dreams I've had.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    He obviously misinterpreted what it means to "be bullish."
     

Share This Page