17 November, 2005

Mulholland Dr.

So, it's been close to a month since I've updated at all, and a bit longer since I put up anything good. College stuff has been kind of keeping me busy, but I have one acceptance so far, one other application totally filed, one nearly ready to be filed and a number that are barely started or only have small portions done. Here I am with a film-related post, yeah kind of run-of-the-mill and expected, BUT, regarding a very non-run-of-the-mill film. I recently experienced Mulholland Dr. (2001), and I say "experienced" because saying that I had "viewed" it or "watched" it would not begin to properly describle what having the light from the images of this film pass into your eyes is like.

The director of this film is one of my recent favorites, David Lynch. I've recently been on a binge of watching his films, of which I had previously only seen one, Blue Velvet (1986), which is also excellent, but that's for another day. I have loved what I've seen of his work this far, which also includes the first season of "Twin Peaks," the cult hit television show from the early 1990s for which he was also creatively responsible. Mulholland Dr. has emerged as my favorite of the bunch, which is saying a lot since I absolutely loved "Twin Peaks," its prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1993), Wild at Heart (1990), and The Straight Story (1999).

Mulholland Dr. is one of the few films that I have seen in my life that has done a certain thing. This film and Being John Malkovich (1999) are the two films that I've seen that immediately emerged in my mind as almost totally unique and original, with almost nothing else out there like them. For this reason, I immediately wanted to watch both again, because they were so intriguing. Additionally, Mulholland Dr. falls into the rare category of films that has a fairly long running time (two-and-a-half hours or more) that I was able to sit down, and watch almost straight through, or if I didn't physically watch it straight through, I wanted to so bad, but circumstances just wouldn't allow it. The other films that have had this affect on me have been classics (at least in my mind) like The Godfather (1972), Gangs of New York (2002), Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999).

It will take a hearty paragraph for me to give a brief summary of this film, because the basic plot takes just about the entire two-and-a-half hours to unfold. In simplest terms, a car accident occurs on Mulholland Drive about the streets of Los Angeles in which a dark haired woman (Laura Harring) is the only survivor. The woman, in a confused stupor, stumbles into an empty apartment. Meanwhile, a young actress (Naomi Watts) comes from Canada to Los Angeles and stays in her aunt's apartment, who is away filming a movie. This happens to be the same apartment in which the confused woman is taking up shelter in. Through some mistaken identity and other circumstances, the two woman become friends, and the young actress agrees to help the dark haired woman discover her identity, which she forgot through amnesia brought on by the car accident. The dark haired woman also has a sack of money, lots of money. She can't recall the origins of this either. The two woman work together to try to figure some things out and events unfold. The other major plotline is about a young film director (Justin Theroux) and the involvement of organized crime in the production of his film. The two plot lines eventually intertwine and much more goes on also.

My summary gives nothing away but also doesn't really sell the movie because of the boring description, but that's the very basic premise of the whole thing, for those looking to answer the question of "what is this movie about." That is what it is about, in the simpleset terms. The film flows fairly coherently through the first two-thirds or so, and then the film takes a nearly incomprehensible turn. I was a little disappointed at this point as I was enjoying it so much up to this point, however, the film, since it is so good, held my attention for the remainder, even if I hardly knew what was going on. I thought some things might clear up by the end, but they didn't. I knew there was something more to it though, the film just seemed so smart, and I knew it was only incoherent because I wasn't smart enough to realize what was going on.

After the film was over, I read a 6000 word essay on the film, and most of it become coherent, and I realized, it was a masterpiece, although it requires some intellect and patience from the average viewer. There are elements of it that even through the most thorough of analysis can be interpreted in a hundred different ways and some other elements that just need to be accepted as "it's a movie" or artistic/stylistic choices. I invite anyone to come experience this awesome piece of cinema with me, especially if they don't want to read essays explaining stuff, since I have read them and will be willing to fill you in.

This film is not like other films that are out there now, and that's something I appreciate. Additionally, it requires some thinking, another thing I appreciate in film. The atmosphere and mood conveyed by director David Lynch is also exceptional creates an incredible film viewing experience.