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By the time this film was released, critics and TV audiences had
already decided its decidedly mediocre box-office fate. The usual
network attitude toward anything which demands thought and
interpretation assured the cancellation of the series in its second
season, and Lynch's departure from the show's director's chair to begin
this film project all but sealed the fate of the show. Unfortunately,
this same fate determined both the critical and public approach to the
TP:FWWM is a prequel to the two-season Twin Peaks saga, and (sort of) answers the question 'how and why did Laura Palmer die?'. Fans of the show mostly knew the answers before they saw this film, but to see Laura's life so vividly realized, and to see the TV characters cast into such a different, more harsh, surreal and disturbing light, really invigorates the entire TP phenomenon. FWWM actually inspired me to watch the entire series again (and as of 2004, I am in the process of watching it again). Fans of the series who found themselves disappointed by the final few episodes of the series because they felt it became too bizarre, are likely to find this film more gripping, though they will probably end up as unsatisfied as they were at the onset. Those who found the second season thrillingly experimental are likely to be surprised by the subtlety of and dramatic quality of this film. Those, like me, who approach the film with few tangible expectations might just find themselves, compelled, disturbed, and very entertained.
The performances are generally very good, but not entirely even. Some TV cast-members, given the vastly expanded possibilities of cinema, really showed their range and depth. Sheryl Lee, MacLachlan, Dana Ashbrook, and Ray Wise were especially impressive. The cinematography is less powerful than the usual Lynchian vision (see Eraserhead, Lost Highway for extreme examples), and is more in keeping with the TV show's straightforward, but moody, photographic approach. The overall production values are, in fact, comparable to those of Mulholland Drive - also originally planned by Lynch as a TV show. Though more subtle than many of Lynch's more extravagant works, TP:FWWM is very successfully manipulative and powerful.
I ardently appreciate Lynch, considering him one of cinema and performance's greatest contemporary artists. And I am unashamed to state that I believe this to be among his finest works. Many of Lynch's fans love to write interpretations of Lynch himself, as if all of his films are in some way connected beyond the obvious fact that he directed (and more often than not scripted) them. I do not disagree with this approach, but, in my opinion, any such universalizing comments more or less miss the point. Lynch is one of many director's who view film as an art form, not as a craft, nor as a vehicle for specific messages and stories. As Lynch has stated, repeatedly, his films involve a dream-like reality and often attempt to invoke a dream or nightmare state in viewers. Unlike most, however, Lynch succeeds in the purity of his art. His films demand interpretation, engagement and, what's more, demand a different and unique interpretation by most who view them.
If you are looking for something which can be universally interpreted from TP:FWWM as part of this imagined set of Lynchian themes, I am not the reviewer to give it, look elsewhere. I have too much respect for Lynch's artistry to subject him to my own interpretive explanations.
If you are looking for a simple story which will clear up the insanity of Twin Peaks, don't bother with FWWM.
If you are looking, open-mindedly, for an intense, disturbing, and well constructed cinematic experience which creates more questions than it answers, and retains elements of mystery in a fatalistically driven plot environment, you've come to the right place.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well I've just gotten the FWWM DVD and am finally able to appreciate the film as it was intended to be seen and heard (or at least as close as possible outside of a theatre). It's unbelievable, and after watching it a few times I was finally able to understand for myself what Lynch was doing here, and he's right; intuition is the key; just pay close attention to what you are seeing and your mind will intuit the rest. In fact, understanding this film was a truly exciting thing for me. What Lynch is actually doing here is thrilling. As much as Lynch would (and myself as well, but...) hate to hear someone give what they consider a definitive explanation for the film, I thought I would give some ideas about some of the most interesting moments. Any interpretation is viable, of course, but this is how I look at it.
First, the prologue: To understand the prologue one must understand something about the nature of the evil in this film. I see the denizens of the Black Lodge as the physical embodiment of the subconscious. That's what the Red Room is to me, the deepest levels of the subconscious, where there is an understanding going on that rational thought won't allow. For example, Laura doesn't want to think that Bob is really her father, but deep down she knows (or comes to know in the film). But Bob is really just the evil that men do, the darkest side of humanity, and he can be inside of anybody. Since Bob is just a personification of this idea and doesn't literally exist, he really can't be caught, because eradicating Bob (and the other members of the Black Lodge) would be eradicating all the pain and suffering in this world, and that will never happen.
In the prologue, Chet Desmond and Sam Stanley come across perhaps the most unhelpful town on the planet. Much has been made of how this place is purposefully the opposite of Twin Peaks, but I don't think that's the point. The unhelpfulness is the result of the town knowing that no matter how many FBI agents are brought in, you can't get rid of what killed Theresa Banks; you can't get rid of violence. They treat the two with disdain because they realize the fruitlessness of their search. Lynch emphasizes the strict use of code (Lil) and constantly has characters asking what time it is to give an air of precision, but nothing gets accomplished. The electricity reference is simply marking the presence of something bad in the area. So, a lot of investigation occurs with nothing being accomplished. Theresa Banks is dead and will remain so.
Perhaps the most obscure point in the film is the sequence with David Bowie. To make this short, Cooper's image freezes in the security camera because the members of the Black Lodge have stopped time for a second, also apparently causing a rip in whatever fabric divides this world and the Lodge. This allows Jeffries to breifly crossover, apparently while the members of the Lodge are having a meeting. This bizarre meeting with the grandson, Bob, etc. is happening at the same time Jeffries appears in FBI headquarters. He says it in voiceover: "I've been to one of their meetings". The meeting is to choose another victim. The Man from Another Place is telling Bob to get more Garmonbozia (pain and suffering, which takes the form of creamed corn) for him. "With this ring, I thee wed", he says, talking about Laura. "Fell a victim", says the grandson, also talking about her. The man in the chair with the beard makes a bizarre hand motion, as if saying "and so it shall be done". Bob and The Man from Another Place are shown walking through the Red Room, on their way out after the meeting, to go get Laura. The meeting over, the rip closes, and Jeffries goes back to the Lodge. Keep in mind however that none of this is really literal, although you have to talk about it that way in the context of the scene. It's the film's way of saying that something bad is happening again, someone else is going to be the victim of violence. The monkey underneath the mask is sort of like a fetus, or like a birth. They've given birth to this evil which will grow and grow and grow until Laura is murdered, and the garmonbozia is given to The Man from Another Place. After this, the murderous thirst is quenched, and the monkey reappears, indicating that things are once again calm but will once again grow (this happens at the end of the film). And of course in the series, Madeline dies.
Some quicker explanations: Laura talking to Harold, saying "Fire Walk with Me, ME!!" is her talking about her temptation to degrade herself. "He says he wants to be me or he'll kill me". This is Lynch telling us in an incredibly unique way that the abuse she's had from her father is turning into self abuse.
The old lady and the grandson are like the gatekeepers of the Black Lodge, allowing one to enter and exit. In the literal world, they are Laura's very first inclinations that Bob may be her father. The picture is just saying that she needs to go into her subconscious to find the answer, which she does that night. "Don't take the ring", says Cooper (meaning don't be another victim; do something about your situation). After Annie appears, Laura walks toward her door. On the soundtrack you can hear her mom calling Laura, which references the morning after she was murdered and her mom couldn't find her. She looks out at the stairs; in about two days, her mom will come up these stairs to find Luara missing. She is also in the picture looking out the door, meaning she has exited the Black Lodge, or her deepest subconscious, and is back in the rational world, almost. This is her first realization that things might get really bad soon.
Anyway, just some observations, but I'm probably running out of words, so I'll stop now.
There's no doubt about it, Twin Peaks changed the living, breathing
face and body of television, the soul and minds of those who watched
it, and the attitudes of film and television makers everywhere, who
watched what was intended to be a 2 hour Tele-movie become a
phenomenon. A phenomenon that dissected the way television was made and
shown to its very core, and reassembled it in a fashion that no one had
ever witnessed, or dreamed of. A phenomenon that would sweep the world
Not since JR was shot in Dallas had the entire worldwide viewing public
stopped to ask itself a question, for one brief, shining, crystallized
moment, in 1990
Who Killed Laura Palmer? And so, with David Lynch's
Fire Walk With Me, the question is not Who? But rather, Why? This film
precedes the TV show, these are the last 7 days of Laura Palmer, and
after watching this film, it is pretty apparent why Laura wanted to
die, she lived in a world out of her grasp and control, she was
desperately fighting what she was becoming, but realized that the
forces that were pulling her down, were too strong for her to fight
I knew someone like that once, and to be quite honest, it has
changed the way I look at Laura Palmer. The first time I watched this
film was in 1992 when it came out on VHS, I was 16 or 17 and I hated
it. It wasn't Twin Peaks. It was horrible and violent and had none of
the cuteness and quirkiness and lovable characters of the TV show, and
I never watched it again. Watching it almost 15 years on, as an adult,
I understand why I hated it so much when I was a kid. As a 16-17 year
male, I had absolutely no concept or understanding of what it would be
like to be Laura Palmer, completely unable to relate to her, and
therefore completely unable to understand or sympathize. Completely
unable to understand what it would mean to live in a world where
everyone is in love with you, and how that would only make you hate
yourself more, when you hate yourself so much already.
This is a really sad movie. It really puts you in to Laura Palmer's world, or what's left of it, briefly. Maybe too brief, but, you know, maybe I read too much in to films, or I get too close too them, but this film has changed Twin Peaks for me forever. And it's quite possible that it will do the same for you. Even though she was dead before the opening credits, I never realized until watching this film again that Laura was never freed, she was always in 'purgatory' if you will, always in the Red Room when we saw her, or seeing a flashback of her murder during the course of the TV show. Fire Walk With Me gives something to Laura Palmer that she had been denied on television.
For the most part, this film was not made for the fans, nor was it made for the money, Lynch made this film for Laura palmer. His love of her is what inspired him to breathe life into her character on the big screen, after taking it away on the small. This is his dance, first and final, with Laura Palmer. It is not ours to be involved with, it is ours only to watch the romance between character and director evolve and be burnt too soon. It is ours only to witness, not too understand or judge, not to ask or question.
From the opening shot, a television with no reception, which is quickly obliterated by an Axe, it is quite clear that this ain't no TV show, and if the symbolism of the TV being smashed isn't enough to tell you that, then the opening scene will. This is the part of Twin Peaks that simply never would have made it to TV. The real Twin Peaks, if you will, the dark, tortured, seedy underbelly of a town with too few people, and too many secrets, the sort of place that exists almost everywhere in the world (with the exception of Cicely, Alaska).
I just watched this movie again for about the 13th time, and it just keeps getting better and better. This movie is amazing! I had the chance of following the series from the pilot to the final episode in a span of three weeks. I then watched the movie for the first time right after. Let me start by saying everything that happens in Twin Peaks from the series to the movie all makes perfect sense. This is something which needs to be viewed carefully, and thought about very clearly. I'm not going to tell you what I think it's all about but I'm pretty damn sure I know, and I know well enough to say this makes perfect sense. I will also say if you have not seen the television show Twin Peaks (season 1&2) don't even bother with this movie. I am truly tired of hearing people complain about this movie because of their lack of understanding. If you have not seen the show, you will not understand this movie.. So go out and watch the show and then think about watching this FANTASTIC movie.
Since the first line of TP:FWWM is "Get me Agent Chester Desmond in Fargo, North Dakota," some might argue that I am biased in my praise for one of Lynch's most underrated motion pictures. The truth is, my life has never been the same since the fateful midnight in high school when I experienced Eraserhead for the first time. TP:FWWM was savaged by most critics, who are unlikely ever to laud the unconventional Lynch again (unless he makes another film that connects like Blue Velvet). Few other filmmakers have had the ability to depict so tangibly the intangibility of our dreams and the worlds contained therein. Couple this with Lynch's corner on the "uncanny" market, and you have TP:FWWM, a film impossible to confuse with any other. My only complaint concerns the absence of Ben and Audrey Horne, who were such interesting and engaging characters on the television series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This isn't just the darkest lynch film ever made, it is one of the darkest, most disturbing films ever committed to celluloid. It tells the tale of the last 7 days of Laura Palmer, so it plays as a prequel to the episodic story which told the tale of how her murder was 'a feak accident' (described in this film). The films contains some of Lynch's most creative touches to date, most notably in a nightclub (from hell) scene, in which the character's dialogue is bareley audible, and in a dream sequence which involves a bizarre painting of a wall. Why Lynch fans overlooked this is more bizzare than the film itself, as it attains a similar style, but does admittedly drop a lot of the characters that gave it it's quirky charm (Dale Cooper has merely a walk on cameo, no sign of 'damn fine cherry pie') but nonetheless has a sense of bizzare horror and dread and plays out quite similarly as how you'd imagine 'the Exorcist; the Adolescent Years. After touches of subtle horror that Lynch has displayed in most of his films, this is a return to the 'bizzarly terrifying' sense of dread that Lynch demonstrated with Eraserhead, but unlike that film it is very true to form in portraying a slow journey of a downward spiral as seen through the perspective of a confused teenage girl- caught up in unfortunate circumstances due to her effortless sensuality, and in doing so it is so disturbingly authentic young girls heading towards a similar fate may use it as an effective warning. Criminally underrated.
"Twin Peaks" was the best thing to happen to television in years. It paved the way for fan-favorites like "X-Files" and "Six Feet Under." Even distant cousins like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" owe that surreality, and that horror-opera continuity, to David Lynch's amazing contribution to television. And as much as I enjoyed Lynch's ability to re-work the failed TV pilot "Mulholland Drive" into the very enjoyable film it became, I'd still give my left arm for it to have remained on the air for a few seasons. Maybe it's the additional subtlety that Lynch was forced to apply when dealing with the much more touchy medium of TV (sponsors only want the type of nudity and swearing that will GUARANTEE better ratings,) but I think TV's a medium that he excelled in, and for that reason, the SERIES "Twin Peaks" will always be better than it's cinematic sibling. "Fire Walk With Me" is for "Twin Peaks" fans. No one else will enjoy this movie. No one else will GET this movie. And if you do, then you have more surreal and creative tastes than I do. But for all of the Peak-Freaks, this movie was the last hurrah, one more crazy, red-curtained dance party for a show that we all felt ended too soon. If you love Lynch, if you can quote every stupid line about coffee and cherry pie that falls from Agent Cooper's lips, then "Fire Walk With Me" will remain one of the greatest movies of all time.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a feature film prequel to the television series Twin Peaks. The film shows the last week of a high school teenager named Laura Palmer. Laura does drugs and balances life with her male friends and her best friend Donna. Laura is also really cautious around her overbearing and creepy father. She also seems to get weird visions and nightmares on top of things, so her life is pretty complicated and she is a pretty disturbed teenager. At the end of the film it ends where the Twin Peaks television show starts with the investigation of her murder. Winner of The Saturn Award for Best Music at The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films; The Brit Award for Best soundtrack at The Brit Awards and The Independent Spirit Award for Best Original Score. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has good direction, a good script, good performances by the entire cast, good original music, good cinematography and film editing. I have never seen the Twin Peaks television series before, but I really wanted to see this film because I figured I wouldn't have had to have seen the TV show seeing as this is a prequel and I also wanted to see the film because I love the films by the film's writer/director David Lynch. The film is hard to describe in many ways because like so many of David Lynch's films it is very unusual and is sometimes hard to figure out. But I was intrigued by this movie and I liked the character's dialog and the eeriness of the town and the different people who live there. The film is very well crafted and put together and I like how David Lynch was able to put together such an atmospheric and stylish film. Also to write a movie this interesting and off the wall takes the genius of a great writer and director such as David Lynch. I was thoroughly captivated by the film and entertained. I was also fascinated by this wonderfully unique journey into this odd little town with odd little characters and settings. A truly unique film experience and another hit for David Lynch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of David Lynch's movies. Even if I don't completely understand them the first time around, they always evoke a strong emotional response from me. This film was no different. It was alternately beautiful and horrifying due to the duality of Laura's life. Knowing that Laura was ultimately going to end up dead created a sense of dread that stayed with me throughout the entire film. Scenes such as Mike confronting Leland on the road and David Bowie's appearance as Agent Jeffries frightened me, for some reason, more than any horror film I've ever seen. But the scenes that show Laura accepting her fate are the most chilling of all; here is a girl who, under different circumstances, would have been a pure and normal individual. But she was corrupted by an evil force and instead used her inner strength to choose to die rather than succumb completely to BOB. Sheryl Lee's performance was flawless, and the rest of the cast turned in great performances as well. TP:FWWM is my favorite Lynch film, and one of my top five favorites. 9 out of 10
Bob, Agent Cooper, Laura Palmer, Teresa Banks, The Man From Another Place,
Welcome back to David Lynch's offbeat town of TWIN PEAKS.
Much darker than the TV series, this film was in part meant to answer many previously unanswered questions, but if anything - in typical Lynch fashion - it tangles things even further, and confuses matters all round.
Lynch apparently shot more than 5 hours of the feature, and as much of these deleted/extended/alternative scenes are still missing, the movie we're left with feels rather bare and rushed.
The performances are excellent, and the movie is visually stunning, and as usual the plot - while confusing - is intense and riveting.
But alas it could have been so so so much more.... (sighs)
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