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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all let me say, that it is not as serious, if you don't get
the movies of David Lynch at once (or even never). Lynch is not a film
maker who tries to make movies with a problem-solving message, but an
artist. Moreover he started as a painter and so he tries to create an
atmosphere more than to develop a story.
Most viewers will have realized that "Lost Highway" is a story about a schizophrenic murderer (even Lynch mentioned it). But that is not the complete clue to the movie. Cause everyone is aware of Fred's metamorphosis (although no one seems to really care about). So his mutation seems to be real and till the end no one proves the opposite! But "Lost Highway" is not a common movie about schizophrenia like "Beautiful Mind" or "Das weiße Rauschen" (Which is a must-see, too!). INSANITY IS NOT THE SUBJECT, BUT THE NARRATIVE PRINCIPLE OF THE MOVIE! In other words: The movie is not a presentation of mental sickness, but a complete sick presentation, which means that the subjective perception of the protagonist becomes the objective reality! You'll find this way of telling a story quite often in surrealistic literature (i.e Franz Kafka's "Die Verwandlung" engl.: "Metamorphosis" - just note the title!!).
All Lynch-Movies refer to mental illness or the state of dreaming: No character ever seems to care about the illogical and irrational twists of the plot(just like in dreams), the landscapes are unrealistic and change appearance or size and the story takes place at deserted areas (forests, claustrophobic rooms, industrial areas, desserts) far away from civilization or reality!
Insanity - Sanity/ Evil - Good/ Reality - Fiction are no longer categories one can rely on. The protagonists see their surroundings and environment always threatening, but they never question it! They act with such a matter of course, that one has to ask whether it is ignorance, naiveté or self-deception. Perhaps you don't have to ask yourself how far you are able to UNDERSTAND the message. Perhaps you have to ask yourself how far you are willing to ACCEPT the message. Be aware, that once you started seeing the world at a different way you will follow that white rabbit right the way in his burrow...
David Lynch is known for his art films; films that defy the rules and
rubricks a movie should follow. Of course, Lynch isn't one to follow any
kind of Hollywood Rule. His films always have a general sense of the
surreal, of emotions only understandable to the characters and actions that
defy comprehension. They always have lurid eroticism or at least one
character with a sexual perversion. And, for the most part, his films are
incomprehensible to a mainstream audience. 'Lost Highway' has just been
defined for you, though not explained. Perhaps the film is not meant to be
explainable, perhaps it is just an abstract work meant to involve us and toy
with our emotions until we forget it right after we leave. But the film is
memorable so that cannot be the reason. Maybe Lynch is just working out
personal demons and only he is meant to benefit from doing the film. I'll
explain what I mean.
'Fred Madison' [Bill Pullman] is a sax player who performs at the local club. He and his wife 'Renee' [Patricia Arquette] live in a funky Lynchian house that seems designed specifically to disturb the audience. Their marriage and sex life is not going well. One day, 'Renee' finds a videotape on the doorstep. When they play it, it is almost like a promotional video for their house, moving down every hallway before entering the bedroom where 'Fred' and 'Renee' are shown sleeping. The tape abruptly shorts out to snow. 'Fred' and 'Renee' are obviously quite bothered by this. They call the police, who don't really impact the situation in any way. Later, at a party, 'Fred' meets an ingratiating pasty-faced man [Robert Blake] at a party who calmly explains ''We've met before, haven't we'' and then goes on to explain they met at 'Fred's house and that the man is ''There right now, phone me''. He does seem to be at both ends of the line. 'Fred' immediately grabs 'Renee and they leave to go home. This leads to one of the most tense and terrifying sequences I have ever viewed on a piece of celluloid since Hitchcock. Since we know Lynch is directing, we know anything could happen......And does.
I have not given away anything. In fact, the events I have described might have never happened. In fact, any event or character that enters the film may or may not have happened. The film exists in it's own queer dimension. Lynch shots the film like a noir, with 'Renee' as the femme fatale. The colors are pitch-dark and lush which helps structure the film into what it is, a psychological nightmare. It manipulates our emotions to a shocking extent and we don't know how Lynch is doing it because nothing in the movie makes sense. Lynch himself uses the phrase 'psychogenic fugue' when describing the movie as he says the hero is 'inventing a fantasy because his real life is so screwed up.' Patricia Arquette is more blatant when describing the film; 'Fred Madison is a f@#$ed up guy who invents a fantasy because his real life is so f%$#ed up. But Fred is so f%$#ed up that his fantasy falls apart...'' Makes sense to me. It would explain the bizarre events and would explain the ending. Fred is so angry and so paranoid that he has a fit in his car, twisting and whipping his head around in circles because his fantasy has gone wrong and collapsed. The film reveals clues that support this explanation. At one point, the pasty-faced man says of Renee ''Her name is Alice, if she told you her name was Renee, she was lying. And you, who the f$#@ ARE YOU!'' This suggests that Renee has used him and that 'Fred' doesn't even know who he is. If you were inventing a fantasy about yourself and you wanted to create a given persona, isn't it possible that you could forget who you were in the first place?
Some people have suggested that the 'Mystery Man' [Robert Blake] is a manifestation of 'Fred's' illness. But then why does it seem that the 'Mystery Man' is trying to help 'Fred'? Perhaps 'Fred' has created the 'Mystery Man' in the hopes that this being will solve the mystery for him, to egg him on until he saves himself. And the mob boss 'Mr Eddy' [Robert Loggia] is the real villain: cold, calculating, abusive and spontaneously violent, just like a virus. And 'Renee/Alice' is just one of the virus' cohorts, reproduced from the DNA of the virus to spread the illness and incapacitate the victim.
Or perhaps the most likely explanation; It is a Lynchian fantasy designed to screw the mainstream audience and entertain open moviegoers.This makes the most sense. People will always want to explain this film, to dig up it's secrets. Maybe the secrets will never be uncovered. Maybe there are no secrets and it is just a Lynch film calculated to please his fans. Any way you see it, it will never be solved. I wish you good luck if you try to solve the film in its entirety,... But you will certainly have fun doing it.
Clearly, as with most of David Lynch's films, Lost Highway is not for
everyone. It is, as Lynch intended it to be, a film realization of a
In this regard, it is comparable, in terms of artistry and raw intensity
Kurosawa's _Dreams_. Indeed, in terms of sensory experience -
cinematography and sound, for example - Kurosawa and Lynch have few
However, the comparison falls away rather quickly in consideration of the
film's content. Lost Highway is really no dream, but a
Let's face it, like it or not, everything Lynch does is intentional. This film has inspired polarized reviews here on IMDB. Those looking for a plot-heavy movie that they do not necessarily have to pay attention to tend to despise it. Those who are open to allowing this manipulative, intensely disturbing and thought-provoking film to carry them into its own parcel of hell love it. This is, in my opinion, what good art can do.
Like a dream, Lost Highway has as many plots as it does viewers with their own individual interpretations and perspectives. It forces itself upon you with a vengeance, but simultaneously encourages the kind of disengagement you experience when you are conscious that you are dreaming.
I recommend Lost Highway highly. See it with intelligent, open-minded friends who like to talk about film experiences. And expect that the conversation will keep you up way past your bed time.
I believe it was the legendary Homer Simpson who once gave the ideal
description on David Lynch productions. During watching a Twin
Peaks'-episode he said, `Brilliant
but I don't get it'. Too true
what you're seeing and you want to be a part of the mysterious Lynch
universe! You actually feel the urge to search for solutions, you want to
solve the riddle that is Lost Highway and you desperately try to do so
you realize it's in fact a puzzle that cannot be solved. Therefore, my
advice would be: Don't try to be Einstein and develop too many theories'
just get overwhelmed by Lost Highway and enjoy the mixture of weirdness,
violence and erotica you get to see. It's amazing what David Lynch pulls off
here! He serves an absurd and impossible structure that involves an
inexplicable metamorphosis of the protagonist and he actually gets away with
it!! Meanwhile, he introduces a bunch of bizarre but extremely fascinating
characters of which you don't know they're real or just creations of a
mentally ill mind. Lynch in top-condition, in other words
you almost start
to suspect he's laughing with his audience. The quality of Lost Highway is
brought up to an even higher level by the terrific musical score (Angelo
Badalamenti), a blasting soundtrack (Rammstein!) and sublime acting. Bill
Pullman and Balthazar Ghetty supply each other terrifically, even though
they don't have ONE scene together. And Patricia Arquette
either blond or
looks gorgeous. No wonder men in this film fall into madness over
Lost Highway comes with my highest possible recommendation, yet I still prefer the David Lynch of the lat 70's and 80's. Can't really give a reasonable explanation for this Films like Blue Velvet and Eraserhead had something extra.
This was the first time I was in anticipation of the release of a David
Lynch film. Having only discovered his movies (and Twin Peaks) in the
period of 1992-1997. I became a huge fan, owning several films on video as
well as the complete Twin Peaks series.
I was not disappointed with Lost Highway. A film that left me totally stunned. A film that I did not want to end, in the hope that I could figure out what was going on. A film that left some scenes imprinted on my brain like a tattoo. A film that is a dream.
This film is what dreams are. There are times when you feel you control the dream, and times where you feel it escapes you. Slow and rapid events. Images that don't make sense. Fantasy. Horror. Surrealism. Symbolism. All part of a long dream, that I doubt anyone can decipher, including Mr Lynch.
Seeing this film for the second time with a person who truly did not "get it" (though I thank her for her patience to watch the whole film), made realise that there are two kinds of people in this world. I love this film. I can't wait to watch it again.
This is the first film directed by David Lynch I've seen, not counting The Elephant Man, which is another great film, but is an outsider in his career, since it is not surreal. This film is, however, making it the first typical Lynch film I've seen. And I'm honestly not sure what to make of it. I had heard a lot about Lynch's films before watching, but I guess I hadn't heard enough. I went into this film hoping for a good mystery, an interesting puzzle to solve. As the end credits rolled I didn't know what to make of what I had just seen. I didn't get an answer to the question I kept asking while I was watching; "What exactly is this film about?". As soon as the credits were over, I read a comment or two by Lynch fans... and the truth dawned on me. It's not supposed to be solved. It's not a movie where you, when you see the very end, exclaim "Ah! Now I get it!". This film won't provide you with some twist ending or have a character come up to the lead and explain it all. It's not supposed to make perfect sense or be easily explainable. It's not real. It's fantasy. Fiction. The whole film is like a dream, or, more appropriately, a nightmare. The film is great; it's just not for me. I won't let that affect my rating, however. This was an excellent example of masterful film-making. Lynch's direction is eminent, evidenced by the fact that I kept watching, despite not understanding half of what was going on or being able to sympathize with any character(something we are much too used to from mainstream movies). The lighting is great. Lynch really plays around with it, and it's always interesting to look at. It also really adds to the mood, nicely set by careful editing and music usage. The acting is flawless, and that is not a term I use lightly. All in all, a wonderfully well-done film, but definitely not for everyone. Wasn't in my tastes, but I enjoyed how well-made it was regardless. I recommend this to fans of art films, rather than conventional ones. Fans of Lynch should enjoy this. Very surreal and loose. 10/10
I started this film upon renting it one night at 11:00 PM. I finished at about 1 in the morning. I was so stunned and awestruck that I stayed up until 3 in the morning to watch it again. This is one of the most spell-binding movies I have ever seen. Each time I see it my theory of the plot thickens. What I love about the movie is that it leaves you with the option to fill in the blanks. You will keep asking what happened and why that happened, but that is what makes the movie so awesome. David Lynch's skewed opinion of reality is very inspiring and I feel that my reality has changed ever since I watched it. Having watched it 13 times I can pretty safely say that my theory of the plot is set, but I still love to ponder exactly why.
The thing that's great about Lost Highway is there is no absolute
solution to the events in the film, everything about the film is open
to interpretation and after you watch it you either need to thing and
talk about it for a couple of hours or watch it again. In Mulholland
Drive, people say that it needs to be watched twice to be fully
understood. Lost highway needs to be watched about 3 or 4 time to be
slightly understood and will probably never be fully understood. All
the clues are there in the film but to include all of them to make
sense is very difficult. However it is very rewarding to try and find
out the meaning of Lost Highway.
Although it is described as a modern film-noir, it's more inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. The use of music to increase the suspense of the film is used a lot here and in many Hitchcock films such as Psycho. Even if you cant work out what it is about, it is still a very tense thriller.
Final Score 10/10
I absolutely loved this movie. I have always loved to watch a good flick
that puts my brain to the test. Maybe the film isn't suppose to make much
sense, but that's what I love about it. You have to try and analyze it and
make your own theories about what just took place. This movie isn't for a
lot of people and I mean a lot. You have to like movies like Mulholland
Drive, Memento, The Man Who Wasn't There, etc.. to even begin to like this
one. I'm not necessarily a big David Lynch fan, but this movie rocked big
One of the most eery parts of the film is when (Bill Pullman) is making love to his wife (Patricia Arquette) and her face turns into the mystery man (Robert Blake). A very freaky looking individual, indeed. In my eyes, he represents the devil. But, that's my take on it.
Another great scene is when Pete is making love to Patricia Arquette in the Desert. The lighting, music, camera angles, emotions and everything is just one of the best pieces of cinemtography I've ever seen in my life.
My recommendation is this: If you liked Mulholland Drive, Memento, Pulp Fiction, Fargo, The Man Who Wasn't There, Blue Velvet, then this movie is your cup of tea. If not, don't waste your time, cause you'll hate it, more than likely. 3 1/2 *'s out of 4 *'s.
Lighting. That's the thing I remembered most from the first time I saw this film. Amazing lighting. Certain directors, Lynch included, are able to tell the story using camera movement, what's seen/not seen. Lynch, however, has taken that a step further with the way he chooses to light his scenes - he sculpts his shots in a manner that seems almost more like a theatrical lighting designer's work. The use of shadows within the home, the stark colors that accompany certain scenes, even the car lighting in the titles - all of this is used to draw the audience's attention to a certain point, and all of it thrills. With the terse, "European art-film" dialogue style (at first the most distancing thing I found in Lynch's work, it is now one of my favorite elements), sharp sound work, a strong cast, and the marvelous, spiralling structure of the film only reinforcing it's strongest feature - its atmosphere - this is a work that will be discussed long after the credits fade. In my short 22 years, the best film I've seen, bar none.
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