Reel Reviews

Mulholland Drive - DVD Review

Is the plot to Mulholland Drive Driving you crazy? Here is a very detailed description of the Mulholland Drive story line to help you figure it out. But beware, it contains spoilers.

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A movie is like a journey. Your journey should take you through many interesting and exciting places. If you stray from the steady course during your journey to experience some of the related scenery and landmarks along the way, you don't mind if it takes you a bit out of the way of your destination. For instance, it would make sense that on a visit to San Francisco, you stop in New Orleans to view the first trolley car ever produced for use in the United States. However, when a movie introduces so many subplots, false leads, red herrings, and so much meaningless nonsense you are quite often left feeling cheated and extremely agitated.

In this confusing mess of a movie, we meet Betty (Naomi Watts) who arrives in Hollywood from Canada in search of her Hollywood dreams. She is to stay at her aunt's apartment, but upon arrival encounters an unknown occupant, Rita (Laura Elena Harring). Rita, it appears, was involved in a car accident, narrowly escaped a murder plot, and wandered into the apartment sometime before Betty. The two attempt to piece together the puzzle of Rita's period of unconsciousness. Running concurrent with this plot is the story of a movie director, Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) who is resisting the urgencies of the mob who are wanting him to cast a certain actress as the lead in his movie.

Up to this point in the movie we are drawn in by the interesting characters, and the compelling story line. The cinematography and editing approach masterpiece proportions as you are bombarded with creative film-noire surroundings. The relatively unknown actors could not be better in their portrayals (I've always loved watching an actor portray actors on the screen). Lynch's directing abilities really shine all throughout this movie. But his creative method of telling a story in a non-linear format begins to unravel in a major way. The last third of the movie, which should dedicate itself to tieing up the loose ends and completing the many plot circles, misses a huge opportunity to finish with a bang. Instead, Lynch pulls the rug out from under our feet as we find out that many of the subplots and parallel schemes indeed have no reason for existing. We realize that up to this part of the movie, we have been subjected to an elaborate, multi-faceted dream sequence (do the names Patrick Duffy and Bobby Ewing ring a bell here?). Or, was the first part reality, and we are now entering a dream sequence? Or is a dream even involved at all. I remember thinking what a genius plan this was going to be once he tied all these missing pieces together. The movie's tagline should have been a clue that that would not be the case.

Like Led Zep's Stairway to Heaven and McLean's American Pie, this movie will be forever studied in art schools around the world and one interpretation will always stand above the others....that this thing was written simply for the sake of having many interpretations. It's as if we are given a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle to solve but there are 513 pieces. It's impossible to solve by yourself. I have always believed that fine art can be abstract, but movies can't be. I have since changed my stance on this, for at least this one movie.

As an artist myself, I appreciate the non-traditional way of thinking. I make a living at communicating in a visually creative manner that walks just outside the reach of the obvious. I love art-house movies and I loved my studies of the Dada art movement that began in Europe. In the true fashion of the Dada movement, that attempted to shock the public and disintegrate the structures of society, Mulholland Drive thrives simply because of its nihilistic properties. And though the founders of Dadaism dabbled very little in the medium of film making, I would imagine that Mulholland Drive was what Tristan Tzara had in mind when he first penned La Premiere celeste de Monsieur Antipyrine in Zurich in 1916. In movie watching, I'm a sucker for the creative concept that dares to step outside the boundaries and take me on a unique and captivating journey.

For some reason, this DVD has no special features on it whatsoever. Not even chapter selection. The quality of the DVD transfer is spectacular capturing Lynch's noir aspects perfectly. The sound is superb especially when you crank the volume on the Club Silencio scene. Rebecca Del Rio's Spanish rendition of Roy Orbison's Crying resonates through the soul.

Is the plot to Mulholland Drive Driving you crazy? Here is a very detailed description of the Mulholland Drive story line to help you figure it out. But beware, it contains spoilers.

See the lyrics to the song "Llorando"


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen anamorphic

Subtitles: French, Spanish

Sound: English (DTS 5.1 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Other Features: Color; interactive menus.

DVD Easter Eggs (hidden features): Movie Clues - From the Main Menu select the 'Special Features' option. Highlight the 'David Lynch Interview' option and press LEFT to reveal a hidden 'blue key' near the top left corner of the screen. Select it to reveal a sequence of screens featuring clues to the movie!


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