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Let Roger Ebert explain it (or not).
I got the impression that the Hollywood scene is a confusing mix of stereotypes. The film makers are saying the girl who flew in from Canada could just as easily have been the dead girl in the bed or just as easily the girl who commited suicide. The girl in the car accident could just as easily have been the starlet. The landlady could just as easily have been the director's mother. In fact, the movie shows them portrayed by the same actors.
As in real life Hollywood, there are powerful figures with hidden agendas. Some are powerful in the conventional way, such as the old tycoon behind the glass wall, some are powerful beyond the director's understanding, like the cowboy, and some are powerful beyond OUR understanding, like the dirty man behind the diner. They all impact the rank and file. Indeed, the dirty man impacts US by twisting the story thread. The closest we get to seeing the artifice of the twist is when the blue box is opened and expands to black out the scene. This is clearly some kind of transition point. Perhaps this transition could have been managed without such an apparent disconnect.
I suppose I have the impression that if I go to Hollywood and live there for a few years in a defocused way, I would remember years later a mish mash of faces and people, confusing and not well delineated. Horrible things, strange things.
I agree that the film-making was artful. The scenes are beautiful capsules, often self contained almost classic set pieces. The music was well selected and usually properly set off the visuals and dialogue, almost never intrusive.
All that said, I must admit I didn't like the movie. I find that I like logical plots with linear development. I can follow these well and get more involved with the story. With a movie like this, my first reaction is dismay that the film makers are playing a trick on me. I wasn't able to integrate it (grok? -- dating myself here) into an understanding until long after it was returned to the rental store.
I like a lot of David Lynch's stuff, and enjoyed the film until the last 20 minutes (after Betty wakes up as Diane-hope I have the 2nd name right). As to the clues in the DVD (I watched it on DVD with my wife), either I'm totally stupid or they don't mean that much. As much as I like him, Lynch is not perfect-while I think Blue Velvet was a great movie and like a bit of his other stuff, Dune was absolutely laughable. I'd put Mulhulland Drive somewhere in between. That it may have been the best movie of last year (don't think I'd agree with this one) just shows how the overall quality of movies has degenerated in the past few years, particularly in Hollywood. Then again, it was a much better picture than Moulin Rouge, which, in my opinion was not much more than an extended MTV video.
I like what sugarbrie and Jameswei had to say about the movie. I too didn't understand the movie until several days later. This is clearly a movie with multiple interpretations and levels of impact. I felt that the "dream" was also a person in a state of decompensation and a depression spiral. There were also delusions of grandeur with perceiving herself as a person who performed exceptional at her audition, her role as the "savior" for the injured and vulnerable starlet, and she had someone powerful watching out for her (the cowboy), etc. Ultimately the concept that nothing is what it seems, everything is grey, there are no absolutes is even more clear. I will be interested to hear what others thought of this odd-interesting movie. Entertaining movie??? I am still deciding that one. I was told that this movie was a lot like Momento. What do you think of that comparison? Jallen
I seriously doubt whether David Lynch could explain this movie, nor would I want to hear his explaination. This movie is the proverbial car wreck. In fact, I felt as if I were in a car wreck and jarred a few bolts loose. Huh? wha...
I think Lynch is a mad genius or is having (terminal) flash backs from some bad/good acid. The characters, the pacing, the dialogue is amazing and kept me on the edge of my seat.
p.s. This movie and Memento are nothing alike.
The only thing Memento and Mullholland have in common is that you need to pay attention, once you see the end of Memento and understand it, it's over. I couldn't watch it again. Mullholland is completely different in that respect, and I think if Lynch did explain it to you, he would in the way Dali explained his paintings... leaving you more confused than ever, intentionally. I like that, so watch it again. Tom
I'm in agreement with Jallen. All great art is subject to multiple interpretations. That does not necessarily mean one has to like it. Yet, it can be quite provocative - as is this film.
I live under the H of the Hollywood sign. I work in the film business as a Director of Photography on features and television shows. Mulholland Drive reminded me of a book called "Day of the Locust" by Nathaniel West (I never saw the movie). As you may know, Nathaniel West was a successful novelist, around the 1930's, who was lured to Hollywood by the studios - meaning big money - to write scripts. Yet, he fell into the same trap as F.Scott Fitzgerald. The business of Hollywood is unspeakably nasty. It respects no one. One is never sure who they can trust. To endure it, takes enormous survival skills. I'm not sure if anyone survives this town unscathed. The expression,"Hollywood Blvd.- street of broken dreams" is all too true. Anyway, Nathaniel West wrote "Day of the Locust" as a twisted fictional tribute to this twisted business and how it affects the innocents and not so innocents.
Mulholland Drive, to me, seems to mirror the surreality this actress has acquired after arriving in this town as an ingenue'. After winning the dance contest back home, she was ready to become a star. The couple that she net at the airport at the beginning of the movie - had Cassandra type grins of knowing what this innocent was about to undergo. Stardom was not to be hers.
So, I do think that this film has a great deal of 'inside Hollywood' stuff, yet, I also believe that it works quite well as an abstract mystery. Some of you
may know that this film was originally intended to be a pilot for a television series - a la "Twin Peaks". The networks rejected it so David Lynch reworked the script and shot additional footage to make it into a feature.
Thanks for the help, all. Several of us "linear thinkers" watched the movie last night and none of us made the leap to thinking about the entire movie as a metaphore. All four of us were grasping for at least one concrete thread to ground a story to, but never did find one. I suppose I'm with Jameswei, above. I appreciated the art of the film at a certain level, but felt at the end that I'd wasted my time in watching the whole thing.