Written and Directed by David Lynch.
Running Time: 146 mins
Rated: MA 15+
As Director of Elephant Man, Dune and Twin Peaks David Lynch is a master filmmaker. Other films like Blue Velvet and Eraserhead indicate his interests to be bleak and dark. Mulholland Drive is his bleakest portrayal of humanity yet.
Rita (Harring) is in a car accident and gets amnesia. Betty (Watts) has just arrived in Hollywood to become a movie actress. She moves into her Aunt's apartment and discovers Rita (not her real name) held up there. Betty sets out to help Rita discover who she really is. That's as good an explanation of the plot as I can give. After this you are on your own and so is the film! Nothing and no one is as he or she appears.
The cinema has always been likened to recreating the experience of dreaming. Like the fluid associations we can have in our dreams, Lynch plays with the plot, narrative development, characterisations, styles, structure and sequences to give us a Hollywood nightmare. There is repressed sexuality, abjection, black humour, irony and parody everywhere in this film. To quote from another film, which Lynch does throughout Mulholland Drive, Lynch's attitude to Hollywood is, "I'm as angry as hell and I'm not gonna' take it anymore". Mulholland Drive is an appallingly immoral view of humanity which most viewers would find very distasteful.
There is one bright spot in this film. By the end of Mulholland Drive Australian actress Naomi Watts has played three or is it four characters? Her scenes demonstrate a dramatic range that has 'star' written all over them.
If Lynch wants to say something about how Hollywood destroys the innocent by reducing them to perversions of themselves, I am not sure the theatre of the absurd is the best vehicle to use. By the end of this film Rita is not the only one who's been involved in an accident.
Richard Leonard SJ