Monday, February 21, 2011

Mulholland Drive

 Well after having read so much about this film from other blogs I decided to hire this film from my local video store. It is unusual in that I didn't see this on the big screen. I pretty much see everything that is played at our local cinemas so maybe this didn't play.
 It is fair to say that this is a film that has devided audiences like no other within the last ten years. My initial reason for wanting to see this film is because of Naomi Watts. Not only because she is a babe!! ( Liev Schreiber you lucky so and so!), but beacause she is such an outstanding actress. This was of course her break through role in Hollywood.
 It is interesting here because I saw 21 Grams only a matter of a few nights ago. I think she was far superior in 21 Grams. But her Mulholland role is very good to. I like the way her character changes from intially being a sweet, somewhat wide eyed innocent, to the woman who slides into insanity at the end. Two different people played by the same actress within the same movie. Great skill Naomi, and a joy to watch!
 Acting aside this film has been described as 'weird'. For me personally, it isn't weird it is dis-jointed, and gets lost in too many irrelevant sub-plots that go no-where. When I did  a bit of reading up on this film I found it had been initially been filmed as a pilot for a television series. David Lynch had filmed the bulk of the pilot but it was canned before filming was finished. So really, to be honest, this is film footage from an initial and unfinished project, with scenes filmed afterwards in an attempt to knit it all togehter.
 Unfotunately it is glaringly obvious. I admire his attempt to do so and I genuinely feel he could have done much, much better and turned a confusing, sub-plot heavy film, into a genuine masterpiece of non-lineal film making. He attempted it with too much initial film and tryed to make the most of it without really giving it the thought needed to get the best from it. It is a film of wasted potential.
 I can critise this film to kingdom come and the sad thing is I don't really won't to. I really want to like it.  But it's flaws keep getting in the way and I feel frustrated at the so many lost opportunities of this film. The film has too many joining scenes. The Silencio scene is unnecesary and plainly out of place. It is just joining two scenes together without adding to the plot. If Lynch had cut out the sub-plots that go nowhere, he could have skillfully weaved together this film much better. He has overly confused it and taken away so much from what it could have been.
 One other critism is right throughout the film there is an air of sinisterism. It is well done and I kept expecting right to end something extraordinary. It left me unsatisfied and wondering what all the sinister air was about. Again it was something palpable that led to nothing. Sure I've read of the dream scenario and hypothisis, but hey, the recent Inception was a dream movie and it felt just like that, a dream.
 To what I did like, because there is much to like, as much as there is to be confused and disappointed with. The acting is very good. Naomi Watts being the stand out. It is well filmed. It has a non-lineal plot that is a style I particularly like. It keeps you guessing.......but , and again we come back to this very simple problem, but.
 Believe me I have tried very hard to like this film after watching it last night. It is not that I don't like it because I do. It is unfortunately a film that has left me frustrated as it had the potential to be absoltuely incredible but instead subsides into confusion which destroys the ability for me to accept it as a great one. When I first saw Pulp Fiction I was absolutely gob smacked and left the theatre reeling wondering what had hit me. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before and that feeling has never left me. Mulholland tries to achieve the same thing but trips up over its own feet. Overly plotted and confusing, it is a film that ultimately leaves you unsatisfied because you know it should have been better.
 I am a believer of first impressions counting. I  absolutely love eccentric, off-beat, quirky films, but I doubt no matter how many times I see this film my feelings would change. They in fact would probably only deepen. This is a frustratingly flawed film that overly complicates itself and the viewer is left rueing what could have been. Simply, the chance to be a true masterpiece of non lineal film-noir that could have Pulp Fiction in its place.
 Watch, be dazzled, but ulimately be disappointed at what could have been.

 PS. It makes me laugh that people make so much of Lynch's silence over speaking about or clarifying this film. To me it shows he knows it is a cobbled together mess. He must be laughing behind his back at how he has pulled the wool over cinema goers eyes world wide and insulted their intelligence!! He is getting praise that he himself knows isn't justified.
 Click here for a synopsis...if you can possibly do so with such a jumbled mess!
And here for a site that attempts to justify this films existence!!
And more self justification!


  1. I can see all your points, and agree that the film could have been more satisfying. Lynch is clearly capable of linear storytelling and capturing mood at the same time (see Blue Velvet for example) He does I think capture a sinister mood very well and with some of his films (This one, Lost Highway, Inland Empire) I try to enjoy the mood, without needing to put the pieces together. (although you can't deny the desire to piece together what you're watching) It's like a puzzle without a solution, but as you mention, there is much there to enjoy. His films can also be a good experience when you just want a break from the conventional!

  2. Good comment! If Lynch took the time he should have seen Bogart's The Big Sleep. It is somewhat similar. Even though it is more lineal it is a very complex film. I particlarly like it for that fact and it is regarded as in the top five films Bogie made.
    It has its flaws just like the book. With Mulholland Drive Lynch could have taken a leaf out of The Big sleep's book on how a complex movie can really work and be satisfying.
    Mulholland Drive just feels slapped together for me with no real effort on crafting.

  3. Although there's much to like in 'Mulholland Drive' - the incompetent hitman, his botched job spiralling into one corpse after another; the sinister albino cowboy; Watts's electrifying audition scene - I found just as much to be "Lynch by numbers". The quasi-circularity of the structure is something that I feel he achieve much better in 'Lost Highway'. The Club Silencio bit seemed like a throwback to the nightclub scenes in 'Blue Velvet' and 'Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me'. A lot of the imagery was pure 'Twin Peaks'.

    'The Straight Story' - the film Lynch made before 'Mulholland Drive' - was, for me, one of his best. It still had those quirky touches but there was a genuinely poignant story at its heart and Richard Farnsworth's performance was just beautiful. As much as I'd loved Lynch's earlier works, I felt that he'd exhausted the surrealistic and enigmatic tropes that defined them. And I hoped that 'The Straight Story' was indicative of a move into different territory.

    So 'Mulholland Drive' came across, to me, as a backwards step; a return to what people expected of him.

    Have you seen 'Inland Empire'? I don't know whether my rental DVD copy was a bad pressing, but the sound and picture quality were so bad that I only got through 20 minutes before I ejected and returned it.

    I still think Lynch is one of the most distinctive filmmakers currently at work, but he almost seems to be deliberately inscrutable at times.

  4. Believe it not besides Mulholland Drive I'm struggling to recognise some of Lynch's films. Read some of my other blogs as to my views on living in a small country with a small population base. I hope I don't look like a dick but there is so much that I just don't get the opportunity to see. But belileve me NZ isn't some backwater on the bottom of the map. I have just sent Sting in concert and he played ony 4kms away from my home! Who else can say that!
    So unfortunately Neil the answer is no I haven't seen or even heard of Inland Empire.
    I love the comments I'm geting on this film. It certainly is a film that each individual has an opinion on . It is a film that pisses me off as I wish I could get my hands on it and re-edit it and change many things and turn it into the film it could and should really be...oh yeah did I mention Naomi!...Mmmmmm Naomi!
    One of the things that has proved very useful to me in writing this blog and visiting other blogs is finding out about other fims. I would not have seen mulholland if it had not continuously turning up on other film lovers blogs. So blogging has opened up many channels for me.