"The way you know the movie is over is that it ends. And then you tell a friend, "I saw the weirdest movie last night." Just like you tell them you had the weirdest dream."
Have you ever had a dream that did not make any sense at all? After thinking about it all day, you eventually realize that you will never make sense of what was going on. You eventually turn to a friends and say "I had the weirdest dream last night, and I hope I never have it again." This is the exact same feeling that a viewer gets after watching David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. This is my second Lynch film from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, and I am not sure that I have an honest reaction to go along with it.
Mulholland Dr. does not really have a story to follow. What we can put together is that there are two women, Rita and Betty. Rita was just in a car accident and does not have any memory of her identity. Betty is a small town girl who has moved to Hollywood to become the next great actress. They are played by Laura Harring and Naomi Watts, respectively, and share an awkward chemistry that creates the classic uncomfortable Lynch feeling. They are the fundamental characters in the film, yet we never do learn much about them that could be considered concrete.
While on the subject of content, I do want to point out that Mulholland Dr. is probably most famous for its girl-on-girl love scenes. These were fun, but they did seem to lack importance in regards to the narrative.
But narrative is not a concern for David Lynch. Not only does he refuse to compromise with the audience, but he also blatantly disregards the entire concept of a secular premise. The scenes in Mulholland Dr. all make relative sense on their own, but they do not connect with any of the others. This is just like Lynch. He created a dream-like mythos that frantically moves from one moment to the next without any explanation. And though you may not intellectually follow the action, you still try with the mad intent of forcing Lynch to tell you something meaningful. He never does.
What Lynch does do- is he challenges you aesthetically with spinning and rotating camera angles. There are several stand alone shots that have the individual merit to impress. Also, Lynch created an almost constant feeling of urgency and edge-of-your-seat suspense by using various tunnel shots throughout. Visually, Mulholland Dr. is under the disguise of a film-noir. But conceptually it is nothing but surrealism.
If you are looking for a film that will deliver an everlasting message, you should probably avoid anything Lynch- but especially Mulholland Dr. Again, I am not sure what my opinion of the film really is, but I do know that it was very entertaining. David Lynch is a master at poking a filmgoer's big kid brain. He presents questions that you cannot answer, and introduces you to techniques that you have never seen before. He is a master filmmaker with no desire to be well received. Mulholland Dr. is a brilliantly crafted film with a confusing, but rewarding, non-secular storyline. If you like dreams, you will love this film.
Mulholland Dr.: C+
My Next Film....The Producers (Brooks. 1968)