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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2001!
MULLHOLLAND DR, 2001
A bright-eyed young actress travels to Hollywood, only to be sucked into in a dark conspiracy involving an amnesiac woman who was involved in a car crash. Eventually, both women are pulled into a psychotic mystery involving a dangerous blue box, a film director and the mysterious night club Silencio.
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There's a scene in Lost Highway, David Lynch's film before the comparatively normal The Straight Story, where a mysterious man approaches Bill Pullman at a party and tell him to phone his empty home. After much too-ing and fro-ing Pullman makes the call. To his shock the phone is picked up. Someone is in HIS house! Incredulous now, the stunned Pullman realises that it's the man standing before him who's now talking to him down the phone. The man then bursts into a sweaty laugh. It's the most memorable, most claustraphobic scene in the film, and a good example of Lynch's mind-bending logic in evidence throughout his work. Mulholland Drive, for which he was awarded the Best Director gong at Cannes is no different.
Interestingly, much of this was originally filmed as a TV pilot for an intended series that obviously never got off the ground. Perhaps the intention was to make a Twin Peaks for the noughties - a show which conversely had a self-contained TV pilot should its series never be made. Additional scenes were filmed to wrap up the open ending left unresolved, but this probably goes some way to explain the mostly baffling, though typically atmospheric series of events that take place during the movie which were no doubt intended to be explained away later.
The plot as it is begins with the wreckage of a car accident from which the strikingly beautiful brunette Rita (the strikingly beautiful Laura Harring) emerges. She stumbles into the life of Betty (Naomi Watts), a seemingly na´ve and innocent happy-go-lucky blonde with dreams of becoming the next Hollywood starlet. Upon discovering Rita's apparent amnesia they set about piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of her life while other no less bizarre stories unravel around them. And with typical warped relish, what starts off like the next Gap advert soon descends into a madness only Lynch himself has any immediate clue about.
Ably supported by right-hand man Angelo Badalamenti's very individual score, Lynch's unique undercurrent of pungent menace permeates. He seems to be able to draw out a sense of fear from the most mundane of situations like no other. The cast, including Justin Theroux as the film director, are uniformly excellent with the two leads exuding palpable sexual tension. Naomi Watts has of course gone on too much bigger things, literally, but it seems a real shame that Laura Harring followed this up with, amongst other things, a less-than-stellar vehicle for that sometime Belgian kickboxer. It probably didn't do much for her career, but on this evidence she could clearly have gone far.
All in all, a provocative, highly erotic and disturbing film liable to leave you in a state of utter bafflement throughout. It's worth hanging on though as every absurd individual scene comes together to make 'sense' in the dying moments of the film.
Whatever you read into it, whether as a metaphor for excess, a comment on Hollywood or on love, obsession and finally jealousy, the film is still an enigma wrapped in an enigma and nothing less than maddenly compelling for it.
Just don't go behind the diner.