47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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David Lynch, USA / France, 2001, 145 minutes
Betty (Naomi Watts) is a naïve young actress just arrived in Hollywood fresh from Ontario who finds herself looking after Rita (Laura Harring), a glamorous but fragile film star who appears at her door with amnesia and may (or may not) be in imminent danger. Meanwhile bright young film director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux doing a great job at taking out Lynch’s rage against Hollywood) is having trouble with the mob and his choice of leading lady Diane (er… Naomi Watts). Then there’s Rita’s emotionally charged alter-ego Camilla (Harring again and Melissa George) over at Club Silencio….
With sinister pensioners, magic boxes, mysterious tramps and a deeply haunting score from Angelo Badalamenti to set the authentically weird tone, you won’t be too surprised to learn that this is classic David Lynch territory.
Mulholland Drive is visually brilliant, though even odder than the average Lynch offering with the theme of doppelgangers looming larger than the deeply obscured plot. With both lead characters being actors you could see their multiple personalities as embodying their altering relationship as they play out alternate roles. Alternatively you could also read it as the confusing consequence of this being a failed pilot for a Twin Peaks style TV series…
Ultimately figuring out just where the “reality” of our leads lies is too distracting so it’s best to sit back and fall into the experience. The performances from both clean cut Watts and sensual ex-beauty queen Harring are riveting and their love scene together is the most erotically charged moment of this odd but sensual haze of a film.
Review by Nicola Osborne
Written for EUFS Programme Autumn 2002