Magazine article Insight on the News

Over Drive

Magazine article Insight on the News

Over Drive

Article excerpt

In David Lynch's new film, fantasy and reality intermingle as in a fever dream.

Few directors have a style as distinct as David Lynch, best known for his feature film Blue Velvet and television series Twin Peaks. Melodramatic and ironic at once--we can't be sure whether he's serious or putting us on--Lynch lives in a surreal world of saturated color, hyperventilated performances and convoluted scripts that mix up innocence and evil, camp and sincerity, tenderness and terror. Watching a Lynch movie is a bit like experiencing a nightmare -- deeply disturbing, seemingly portentous, ultimately indecipherable.

Lynch's latest, Mulholland Drive, has all of these elements, plus a good dose of sex and violence. Still, despite its two-and-a-half hour length and its too-wacky-by-half plot twists, the movie is superbly entertaining and, in the end, surprisingly satisfying.

The film begins with a typical Lynch gesture: a head-on car crash in the Hollywood Hills that kills everyone except a seductive brunette (Laura Harring) who, paradoxically, was about to be murdered by her chauffeurs. In shock, she staggers into a bungalow and passes out, eventually discovered by a wholesome blonde (Naomi Watts). The brunette, suffering from amnesia, has no idea what has happened or why she's carrying a pursue stuffed with money. The blonde, an aspiring actress who plays a believable Nancy Drew, pledges to help her new friend discover her lost identity.

So far so good, but the events enveloping these eroticized ingenues isn't the only mystery in Tinseltown. A smart-ass director finds his life threatened by mobster producers, a bumbling hit man has been hired to off the brunette, and people are having premonitions. Halfway through Mulholland Drive, weird coincidences segue into arch fantasy. Characters exchange identities, operate in parallel universes and negotiate their fate with a ubiquitous stranger named "Cowboy. …

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