Movie Review: Mulholland Dr.

I had a fever dream after I saw it the first time months ago. Every time I tried to wake up in reality, it would only be ten minutes from the last time I shut my eyes, only to instantly return to that place. I was lucky enough to have the 10 clues included when I bought it secondhand. I couldn’t try to answer the questions and watch at the same time the first go-round. The second time I saw it, last weekend, I was less successful as I tried to make my own timeline. INLAND EMPIRE is more straight-forward than this, I thought, despite it being Lynch’s most experimental cinematic piece. On top of that, I had to deal with player issues and how the DVD was made. David Lynch does not include chapter stops on his films because he wants the film to be seen as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, I respect his ideas and enjoy the film as an exercise in personal puzzle-solving but watching this is not something you just do on a whim. The End.

“What are you doing? We don’t stop here!”

Before reading, watch the movie first if you haven’t as I’ll talk about my observations with this piece of Art. I won’t touch on every clue.

The first clue reads “Pay particular attention to the beginning of the film. At least two clues are revealed before the credits.” In my first session, I took this very literally. The Universal and StudioCanal+ logos appear before the first mention of credits. However, every interpretation I’ve seen talks about the jitterbug contest and the pillow before the title sequence. I will admit that while my literal interpretation is quite different, it makes some sense. The film talks about a movie that’s being made. There are other references to movies and the movie business, like the appearance of Sunset Boulevard and traits from the film of the same name and the anonymous call on the pay phone “just like in the movies”. Usually before a movie starts, we see the studio logos followed by a nifty title sequence crediting people or an intro scene. Here, there are two logos before the first line of credits, preceding the jitterbug contest. It’s a wild (at heart) guess but I read the clue differently.

I subscribe to the theory that the whole thing is a dream until the final act. It’s surmised that the pillow seen before the title sequence is a person going to sleep. That said, I tried making notes as to each instance of sleep within this dream or “Level 1”. I’m surprised the whole time-space continuum didn’t collapse as I had a Level 4 and a subset of Level 1 focused on director Adam Kesher and how things don’t go his way. On top of that, I had projections upon projections to the point where I felt like I needed an Inception kick just to get me back into the reality of the film. It was insane.

The main part is a relatively straight story. Betty and Camilla stumble onto the mystery of the Mulholland Dr. accident. It does have the traditional Lynch elements like the smiling seniors in the limo, the man behind the dumpster, the use of vintage songs, and the red curtains. Yes, the red curtains from Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Lost Highway are there in Club Silencio. Gotta love me some red curtains; a must in my dream house with the Red Room floor and Overlook Hotel carpeting. I can dream, can’t I?

“No hay banda!” “There is no band!” It is all an illusion. It is a tape recording. It is a review. In that case, The End.

“What are you doing? We don’t stop here!”

The last part is strange to say the least. After we enter the blue box and enter reality, the storyline becomes skewed. Betrayal, hate, delusions, you’ll find them here. That, and miniature senior citizens bent on driving a girl to suicide.

But what does it mean? Well, for now I’m trying to figure out which girl “this” refers to. That and the whole timeline and everything else. I do not have the key to open the blue box all the way. I probably won’t figure out the puzzle in it’s entirety but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch it again. There are other theories, found here. Both times, I sat staring at what happened. Each time:

Silencio.

8/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

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