a critiQal film review Mulholland Drive (2001)

Plot: It all begins with a car accident. The sole survivor (Harring), suffering from amnesia, wanders into the life of Betty Elms (Watts), a new arrival to Hollywood who is hoping to make it big in acting. Betty decides to help the mysterious woman figure out who she is. At the same time, a director (Theroux) is being pressured to hire a particular actress for his latest film.

Reviewed
476 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 22s)
  • ...an oddity from David Lynch that is worth sticking to until the end.

I’d heard good things about Mulholland Drive, so figured I’d rent it and see how it was.

Odd. That pretty much sums up the entire film. Of course, what else would you expect from David Lynch, the director of “Twin Peaks” (TV) and Blue Velvet? One thing I’ll say…it definitely keeps your attention throughout the film, although half of that is just trying to figure out what’s going on.

The characters were all very well acted (including the special cameo by Billy Ray Cyrus). I hadn’t heard much about either of the two main actresses before, and was very impressed. Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring both did great jobs making their characters believable, and pulling the viewer deeper into Mulholland Drive. They both showed quite a range of emotions, and seemed to really get into their characters, keeping the viewer watching and waiting to see what happens next.

The plot was very intriguing. Mulholland Drive starts out by showing a few different storylines, and dangles a few interesting strings at the viewer, sparking interest almost immediately.

The amnesia bit is always good in the beginning of a film, because most viewers will want to stick around, no matter how awful the movie is, just to figure out who the person is. This film wasn’t satisfied with that. They also threw in a mysterious figure in a different storyline, and the whole fish out of water appeal with Betty arriving in Hollywood.

The film definitely knows how to hook the viewer, and will keep you glued to your TV until the final scene.

The special effects were pretty good. The car crash in the beginning of Mulholland Drive was well done, with only a fleeting glimpse of the crash, and a longer shot of the aftermath. That difference helped the viewer feel for the character, since it puts the viewer right into the action from the get go. The lingering shot of the aftermath also allowed empathy for the character, as the viewer sees what she has just survived.

Not all of the special effects were impressive, but most were quick enough not to leave a bad after taste, so to speak.

Mulholland Drive has got to be one of the oddest films I’ve seen in recent years. Without the actors doing such a good job, I don’t know if the film could have worked at all. The actors definitely make the difference. Even though the film may be confusing, follow it through to the end, then ask the questions.

Believe me, you’ll want to take a trip down Mulholland Drive all the way to the very end…and then some..

PS…Don’t bother trying to skip ahead to the end scenes to figure out what’s happening, this DVD (as with any David Lynch DVD) doesn’t come with direct scene access. Cheap, or clever? You decide.

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