Reflective glory. Rita (Harring) has a moment of inspiration...
SHADOWS AWARD: BEST ACTRESS Watts|
dir-scr David Lynch
with Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Robert Forster, Dan Hedaya, Mark Pellegrino, Angelo Badalamenti, Lee Grant, Michael J Anderson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Chad Everett
release US 12.Oct.01; UK 4.Jan.02
After an amazing sidestep (The Straight Story), David Lynch is back in familiarly surreal territory in this gorgeous and bizarre cross between Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. The story centres on Betty (Watts), a young girl from Canada who travels to Hollywood to become an actress. On her first day she meets Rita (Harring), who has just survived a terrible car crash on Mulholland Drive and now has amnesia. So in between auditions, Betty helps Rita figure out who she is ... with increasingly creepy results. Meanwhile, a young filmmaker (Theroux) is being strong-armed by Italian mobsters to cast their girl in his new film--and the rest of his life isn't going very well either.|
To the strains of Badalamenti's terrific score, Lynch controls every element with sheer genius, dragging us into the story and keeping us hooked with remarkably well-rounded characters, constant humour and a building sense of utter terror. Harring and Theroux are terrific, but Watts delivers a powerhouse performance of such drop-dead perfection that, if it was any other film, she should start practicing her Oscar speech now. But no, this is Lynch's universe, and about two thirds through, the story warps into his otherworldly universe with swapped identities and confusing sequences that hint at time travel and alternate realities. We never really unravel what's going on or what Lynch is trying to say. But it's so stunningly beautiful--and so well played by Watts--that we actually feel strong waves of emotional resonance, even though we're not sure why. (Hint: It's a love story set in the city of dreams ... or are they nightmares?) Just brilliant.
"David Lynch should leave his brain to science. This movie is masterful in every way. The man is a genius at film making. However, once again, he forgot to tell the story. Oops! Once again I leave a Lynch production feeling I must attend a series of lectures to explain what exactly was the story he told. So my reaction to the Oscar buzz this film was recieving was, like, you have got to be kidding. It would have been a wonderful movie if only he could bring himself to actually tell the story for a change. So if David Lynch leaves his brain to science, perhaps they will discover some shrivelled, dead area which could be seen as the cause of his inability to convey his tale. Anyways, I loved this movie until it was about two thirds through and I realized that he wasn't going to tie up the loose ends, he wasn't going to bring it all together in a brilliant stroke of storytelling, but once again he would just leave me hanging. This isn't really a movie. As a movie this rates a 2. As a type of visual experience art it gets a 9 of 10." --George Higgenbothan, Rochester NY 13.Mar.02
"So many of today's movies want to be obvious, and force their linear stories down our throats. I'm so tired of watching predictable plots that have neither substance nor appeal. And what makes me even crazier is that most of the studios, and worse yet many actors and directors, are convinced that this is what we want! Then along comes this obscure little movie that I expected to be pretty much the same. And I get thrown into this abstract dream sequence that keeps me guessing from beginning to end. So much so that I couldn't sleep and I had to watch it again to fit the pieces together. That night I had a weird dream of my own and I was reminded that our own dreams generally don't make much sense at all. Well, then the whole movie made sense to me! Lynch shows how every subtle detail of our lives can wander into our subconscious. The people in our lives, as well as those on the periphery. The people we see, but don't really notice. The stories we hear. Or the conversations that we happen to eavesdrop. Our hopes and expectations, our disappointments, our fantasies can all appear in our dreams as some sort of twisted tale that winds in and out of our deepest thoughts, feelings and reality. Every question that you have about this movie, the answer is right there within the movie. If we just look hard enough. Lynch did what no other director is willing to do? Make us work out the story for ourselves ... with our own insights and interpretations. Finally, WE get to be the detective! Watch this movie again and again. It gets better every time! Harring is mesmerizing and breathtaking! Watts is unforgettable!" --GKD, Austin Texas 15.Jun.02