Lost Highway (1997) Poster

(1997)

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9/10
An intense experience
mst-221 June 1999
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 dream. In this regard, it is comparable, in terms of artistry and raw intensity to Kurosawa's _Dreams_. Indeed, in terms of sensory experience - cinematography and sound, for example - Kurosawa and Lynch have few rivals. However, the comparison falls away rather quickly in consideration of the film's content. Lost Highway is really no dream, but a nightmare.

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.
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9/10
For those, who try to understand the Movie
knockpasheemore13 August 2004
Warning: 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...
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9/10
Dick Laurent may be dead but long live David Lynch!
asda-man1 December 2015
I make no secret about David Lynch being my favourite ever director. He makes films like no other by building dark worlds which draw you in by putting you in some sort of spell. I love him so much that I put off seeing Lost Highway for over a year because it was the only David Lynch film I was yet to see. I was even considering not seeing it at all just so I could always have that one new David Lynch film, but then I thought that would just be ridiculous. Also, the revival of Twin Peaks was enough to pique my David Lynch anticipation meter to breaking point so I finally gave in and stuck in Lost Highway.

Firstly, I don't think it's as grossly strange as some people make out. Yes, it has all the trademark bizarreness you come to expect from David but the majority of the film is surprisingly linear. I was expecting some next level INLAND EMPIRE stuff the way some folk bang on about it! The first 40 minutes are like Michael Haneke's Hidden in dream form. It's probably some of the best stuff our David has ever done due to the inexplicably tense and hellish atmosphere. A lot of the scariness is down to the terrifying music which ranges to ominous drones to extremely loud strings. There's one seriously nightmarish image near the start (which I've never heard anyone talk about, surprisingly) which sent chills up my spine. It's a full-on Lynchian assault on the senses which takes you down some dark and enthralling corners. The atmosphere is chock-a-block full of mystery.

There are endlessly beautiful scenes including Fred playing the saxophone, the unsettling meeting with the Mystery Man and extremely frightening dream sequences. I think it's also important to note the expert positions David places the camera. There always seems to be too much space surrounding the characters and it makes for seriously eerie viewing. There's also that fantastic Francis Bacon inspired colour scheme of dark purples/pinks and shadows. He really does direct the hell out of the first forty minutes of this film.

Suddenly the film changes into something entirely different as soon as Fred Madison randomly transforms into a young mechanic called Pete Dayton and takes on an entirely new life. No one seems to bat an eyelid about Fred Madison disappearing and the sudden change is quite jarring. In my opinion, this is when the film goes down a gear. I think because the first story is so strong, this second one pales slightly in comparison as the suffocating atmosphere somewhat dissipates and the overall strangeness ceases. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot to love it just feels less Lynchy and more straightforward, and the Pete Dayton story is the biggest chunk of the film.

There are still some spectacular sequences though, including a mysterious gangster getting road rage and Patricia Arquette's intriguing Alice character. There's also a strong feeling of everything not quite being what it seems and it gives you time to ponder over exactly what the heck you're watching. Thankfully for us weirdos things do start to get extremely strange towards the final half hour of the film before breaking down into total chaos until your mind finally explodes.

Lost Highway is extremely puzzling in a similar way to Mulholland Dive. All of the clues seem to be there as well as a few abstractions to throw lots of spanners into the works (what does this Mystery Man have to do with it all!?) but there is a complex and very intelligent story buried underneath all the bizarreness. It feels like a warm-up exercise before Dave finally broke the mould of film with Mulholland Drive. Everything in Mulholland feels like a perfected version of Lost Highway from the more passionate love story to the unrelenting dreamlike atmosphere.

Lost Highway is still a film to cherish on the Lynchian canon though. It's very much its own thing and I felt a strong urge to see it all again once it had all finished. Unlike Mulholland Drive there doesn't seem to be a universal theory to Lost Highway which makes it all the more interesting to watch again and again to dig for clues. However, as with all Lynchy films the best thing to do is just sit back and let your intuition drive you rather than your brain. It's not an IQ test but a piece of art which is designed to take you on a journey. No one makes films that make you feel quite like David Lynch does. Let's hope that the Twin Peaks revival encourages our Dave to get back into more regular filmmaking again. I couldn't bear to wait another ten years!
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9/10
Literally mind blowing
sinssmo1 May 2018
This was my first encounter with David Lynch. I fell in love. The atmosphere in this movie in incredible, it aspires you in a whole different dimension, where time and space lose their meaning. Everything in here plays with your mind and your senses, to the point where you finally abandon yourself to the current of this movie. Great acting, deep dialogues, crazy photography. As for the scenario, well it definitely exists. Or not. Or closer to the truth, you should choose your own scenario. Because when reality fails you, imagination remains, and it becomes your only anchor. So let your brain lose, for this is not about logic. It is about broken minds and lost souls.
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9/10
film noir
dankelty344 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The way I see this film--and it may not be original or new to anyone, if not, I apologize--is that it should be understood, at least partly, as a film noir movie, and that the "message" (if there is one) or intent of Lynch is to comment on the modern psyche through the film noir genre.

The elements of film noir are these: a man who is innocent of all wrong, finds himself in an inescapable situation in which he is pointed out as a culprit/criminal. He is helpless not only in wrenching free of the circumstances (usually he is set up by someone), but is quite in the dark as to how he arrived in the center of the mess in the first place. Another element is that the man is usually used by a woman.

All of these fit in with "Lost Highway". The Bill Pullman character definitely finds himself in bizarre relationship with his wife (played by Patricia Arquette), receives strange videos of someone entering his house, and then showing him murdering his wife. His character is completely innocent from the audience's point of view. In some supernatural, nonlinear way that must involve some kind of time warp, he is fingered as his wife's assassin and jailed for it. And you can't help think that his wife is somehow in on it.

When the transformation into the Balthazar Getty character happens, it is Balthazar's turn to meet another woman (played, not by accident, by Patricia Arquette)who then seduces him and uses him to escape her relationship with her mobster boyfriend. The Getty character is unaware that he is being used, although comes to some realization that she's not as innocent as she seems.

In the end, when the Getty character transforms back into the Pullman character, you realize, a little at least, why the two are connected. They, perhaps, are connected because they represent the fact that finding oneself helpless, framed, and convicted (at least on one level), is a universal phenomenon, not just one meant to tell a story.

When Pullman, running from the cops, stops by his own house to warn himself via intercom of his future--that's really a nice touch, and makes your hair stand on end. The self trying eternally to reach back and save itself (or something like that).

And then, when he's driving down the Lost Highway, it's really spooky because you don't know whether it is a highway to redemption or a useless attempt to escape the inescapable.

It's such a great movie, and a million things could be said about it on so many different levels. Lynch's creepiness, and his use of the other-worldly elements really make the movie. To me, Lynch is the best American director alive. Jarmusch, Scorsese et al are fine, but they've yet to produce the kind of complexity of form and transcendence of vision that Lynch has achieved.
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9/10
Lynch's Moebius strip Noir-Horror is grander than the sum of its parts.
Amyth4723 February 2019
My Rating : 9/10

If you are curious about what a nightmare is, watch this movie!

Inspired by classic film-noir and O.J Simpson's case, David Lynch's 'Lost Highway' is his ultimate style statement as a director. All of his trademarks are scattered throughout and it is a pleasure to see it all fuse together like a Moebius strip within the logic of a dream state of consciousness - unconscious/conscious/superconscious.

This movie reminds me of 'Fight Club' greatly due to the main character's identity dissociation - We also have here clever use of surrealism and an arthouse-horror sensibility intertwined within Freudian fundamentals of Id, Ego and Super-ego and a portrayal of different defence mechanisms such as : Denial, displacement, intellectualisation, fantasy, compensation, projection, rationalisation, reaction-formation, regression, repression and sublimation.

Fred's character sums it up nicely when he says : 'I like to remember things my own way. How I remembered them. Not necessarily the way they happened.'

All in all, Lynch's approach works and the emotional and psychical states of the main protagonist are clearly and skilfully shown and interpreted but never fully explained in order so that it can retain viewer engagement and curiosity.

An absolute must-see if you're into psychological movies.
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9/10
PSYCHO-NOIR...
azathothpwiggins18 October 2018
After many years of watching David Lynch's films, I've finally stopped trying to figure them out. Instead of wrestling w/ endless theories, it's much more enjoyable to simply allow Lynch's ghastly universe to unfold in all of its dreadful glory. LOST HIGHWAY is the Director's neo-psycho-noir masterpiece of nonsensical, palpable, choking doom. Jazz saxophonist, Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) is convicted of murdering his impossibly hot wife, Renee (Patricia Arquette). This has something to do w/ someone who had secretly videotaped them while they slept. While in prison, world's collide, and Fred wakes up as younger, auto mechanic, Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty). Thrust into a netherworld of crime, Pete romances the forbidden wife (Arquette again) of notorious mob boss, Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia). This is enough to know, since its all just a wonderful dreamscape for Lynch to play around in anyway! Loggia is menacing and hilarious in his explosive role (he also plays Dick Laurent), and Robert Blake steals every scene he's in as the sinister, seemingly omniscient Mystery Man! His eyes burn holes right through the screen! Bleak and convoluted, Lynch stirs violence and sensuality in w/ an unsettling atmosphere, creating quite a creepy stew! Another unique puzzle-box from Lynch's attic of the unknown...
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9/10
The movie is over, but I'm still thinking about it.
athena2410 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Dear reader.

First of all, I must say that my review is more like a discussion and it's meant for those who saw the movie rather then those who didn't. So if you didn't see Lost Highway, and just reading the reviews in order to decide whether to watch it or not, then I'll only repeat others in saying that this is a masterpiece in every aspect. It has one of the best cinematography ever, amazing soundtrack and a superb cast. An unforgettable movie, one of those, people like spending time to talk about. Well I guess that my rating already speaks for itself.

Now, a discussion for those who saw the movie.

Lost Highway begins with Fred getting a message that "Dick Laurent is Dead", hearing the sirens of the police vehicles. The movie ends in the same tune, with Fred leaving this message and running from the police. Which one of these scenes happened? Maybe both of them are elaborations of Fred's mind?

At the beginning of the movie, Fred said to us as a clue, that he remembers things not exactly the way they happened. This is exactly what we are shown. A collection of scenes without a particular order, while some of them are real and others are not. The whole plot of this movie still remains a mystery to me, though some parts of the puzzle could be placed.

First of all, there's a general consensus that Fred killed his wife. It's unknown whether he did it himself, or hired someone else to do the job, but he's sentenced for that crime to death. While awaiting the execution his mind elaborates an illusion / dream where he manages to escape his death. This is the catharsis, where Fred is haunted by what he's done.

The second part, where Pete is the main character, is clearly an illusionary one from start to end. Nothing in it seems rational. Here are some of the things that make it obvious: 1) Peter doesn't know why he is in prison ( because it seems to be a dream ), apparently he doesn't really have a reason to be there, so he is released. 2) Peter's parents showing little interest in what is going on in Peter's life. They just sit still in their house, watching T.V. and not interfering in his life. 3) The girls in this part are seems to be crazy about Peter. And he satisfies them - which is contrary to his real life, where he is not much of a lover to his wife. This is how he would like to be 4) When Eddy takes Pete for a ride - he does this for no particular reason ( as in our dreams we do things without a reason ). 5) The ride itself is highly fictional. Starting with the part when Pete fixes Eddy's car ( what does he do there). Continuing with the driver in the white car that Eddy's Mercedes hits. When Eddy looks in the front mirror of the car he sees the driver in the right seat, but when the driver passes the Mercedes and shows Eddy "the finger" he is sitting on the left side of his car. The crash itself is very unlikely either. 6) When Alice tells Peter how she met Eddy. She was forced to undress. 7) The hallway in Andy's mansion is the same as the hallway in the Lost Highway Hotel shown to us near the end.

Some scenes from the first and the third parts ( by parts in this movie i mean to the sequence of scenes between two adjacent shots of moving highway ) are imaginary also. Like Fred's running from the police at the end of the movie, but in fact he's not going anywhere, he's in prison. What I think is real in the movie, is the scene of police in Andy's place. Why? Because it is the only scene where Fred (or Pete) is not participating. In this scene we have a mention of Peter Dayton, Fred's wife, Dick Laurent and a coincidence between the murder cases. Maybe ( purely a theory ) Peter Dayton is the one who has been hired to kill Andy and Dick Laurent...

Lost Highway resembles in many ways Lynche's other work, but still remains original and adds something new. There are the dark corridor, the red curtain, the fade in / fade out change of scenes etc. To me Lost Highway and Mullholland Drive are David Lynche's best movies I've seen ( but not the only that are good ), where Mullholand Drive is slightly better being less cryptic and having a solid logical solution to it.
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9/10
wow, bob, wow
chexmix12 June 2005
I just watched this and ... damnation. What a film! One thing I love about David Lynch is that, while some of his obsessions (thematic and visual) appear over and over again in his films, he doesn't seem to repeat himself or to be in a rut (as opposed to an artist like, say, Laurie Anderson, who I think made her best statements in the 70s and has been doing the same thing ever since).

Lost Highway features some of the same elements as the later _Mulholland Drive_: the structure that "turns itself inside out," the blonde vs. brunette woman thing ... you'll even notice the trademark red curtains (familiar from M.D. and also _Twin Peaks_) and the white picket fences of _Blue Velvet_.

But there is much here that is unfamiliar and completely terrifying. I'd go so far as to say that David Lynch is the only effective director of the horror film that we have. I just posted a comment on the lousy 1999 remake of William Castle's _House on Haunted Hill_ & lamented there what I saw as Hollywood's complete inability to frighten anyone, any more. I take it back ... in a way. Of course, _Lost Highway_ is not a "genre" horror film, but ... is there anything in _House on Haunted Hill_ that is as terrifying as Robert Blake is in this movie? Not to me.

I may be posting prematurely, since I just finished watching this film for the first time and am still sort of flushed with it. I highly recommend that people who love good film see this one again and again.
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9/10
A fearsome reckoning
ALauff1 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As I find with most of Lynch's films, Lost Highway works best if one can decipher the basic story framework through which the illusory doublings and wish fulfillments, and desires and agonies filter. A sort of male antecedent to the distaff Mulholland Dr., the story is likewise driven by sexual obsession, denial, and intense guilt that leads the protagonist, Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), to create a dream scenario into which he can escape his inner torment. He's perhaps even more delusional than Diane Selwyn, however, and at one point he voices a maxim ("I like to remember things my own way; not necessarily how they happened") that both illustrates his fear of confronting reality and neatly explains the vertiginous twists and refractions contained in the film, which is Madison's chronicle of reckoning with horrific choices. Lynch prepares the viewer for the big twist (Balthazar Getty taking Pullman's place in the story) by suggesting Madison's turbulent inner life with frames that jar in and out of focus—approximating subconscious interference and, in Getty's portion, the intrusion of reality—extreme close-ups, figures materializing in darkness, and his own disruptive sound design, full of synthesized industrial noise and heightened everyday sounds. Appropriately, Madison recasts his victimization tale as a film noir, with himself-as-Getty as a mechanic who falls in love with a gangster's pretty blonde moll, played by Patricia Arquette, who also plays his slain brunette wife. Madison deifies her as an insatiable love goddess, irresistible and ever-receptive to his needs, but tarnished by her dissolute associations with other men, a jealousy that mirrors his adulterous suspicions involving his wife, a smut peddler, and a man named Dick Laurent, envisioned as an old gangster named Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia).

Further doublings, reflections, and parallels between the two stories abound—there's an unidentified incident that Getty can't remember, and the vision of an inversely exploding cabin bookends the central transformation. There is a thrill in trying to unlock the puzzle, but the film is most significant for seamlessly evoking the layout of an involved dream-delusion—Getty's repeated exclamation, "I want you," to the idealized image of Arquette (who replies, "You'll never have me"), concurrently summing up the state of waking from a great dream and Madison's sexual despair, may even top Mulholland Dr. for mapping out tactile subconscious yearning—and detailing the bleak recesses of a tortured soul. More than just an oracle of figurative states, Lynch also displays a finely tuned sense of droll humor. Like the bumbling hit-man in Selwyn's projection, Mr. Eddy's menace is absurdly realized in his battery of an obnoxious tailgater. Aurally, Angelo Badalamenti shares the soundscape with various rock contributors, notably Lou Reed and David Bowie, whose brooding "I'm Deranged" sets the tone from the opening credits. So easy to get lost in such an immersive ambiance, which truly provides an embarrassment of sensory riches; one can simply coast along for the ride and still find a transportable experience. Lynch is that rare director who can illuminate unknown territory through his complementary cinematic and storytelling abilities.
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9/10
It's about how you "feel"
mindblitz18 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Lost highway is not your typical Hollywood. It is something else. It's not about how the plot ties and winds; it's about how you feel. As soon as the movie starts to "thrill", you have this feeling of uneasiness that won't go away. Even in the most hardcore thrillers there are moments of relief where you can recover for a couple of seconds and take a sip from your coffee. Or the director uses this as a "fake relief" in order to achieve a great shock. But a typical moviegoer knows this trick well and expects a shocker during these fake relief moments.

But in Lost Highway, there are no reliefs. At all. You have that uneasy feeling of "OMG, something is about to happen" all the movie; yet most of the time nothing shocking happens. Sometimes it does though, seemingly randomly. So you expect it to happen, and it happens and is still a big shocker to you. This is Lynch genius.

Don't expect to fully understand the plot. Understanding does not reward you any tiny bit like in "Memento" for example. Just let your feelings go. This is a journey and Lynch is the driver. But everything is not non-sense random, there seems to be a twisted link between everything, you feel the connections but cannot name them.

Lynch is a pure artist. But it's not an "art for art" movie at all. His plots could be cunningly smart. Some weird subtle gesture of an actor may lead you to think "OK, Lynchian absurdity", and turns out to be a big clue for the real plot. Like "I like to remember things my own way." You'd think that this is weird to say to a cop when you first hear it, after watching the whole movie it makes another sense.

You can also never be sure of the chronological order of the events, it may or may not have happened now; one event can fit in so many gaps perfectly that you can have a hundred theories yet each one can make perfect sense all at the same time.

This movie is something else. Watch it with zero expectations, Lynch knows where to lead you. But I should warn you, this movie haunts you long after. It will take a long time before you can let it off your sub-conscience. Not because it is so scary; it is; but because the story is told directly to your sub-conscience, bypassing your daily brain. Go watch it. 9/10
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9/10
Visually great but a little bit lost with its lack of purpose. Here's another good work from David Lynch, an artist above anything else
Rodrigo_Amaro6 November 2011
A saxophonist (Bill Pullman) and his wife (Patricia Arquette) start to receive anonymous video tapes of their house, and each time as each different tapes appear the content starts to change little by little. Their story gets more messed up when they meet a strange and sinister character (Robert Blake) that seems to know more about them than themselves and can be in two different places at the same time. What is revealed after that is the wife's murder by the husband who'll later be arrested, and while waiting for his death sentence simply disappears out of his cell and in his place there's a younger guy (Balthazar Getty). And from that it's a whole different story with different characters but somehow is connected with the earlier plot. Those who love David Lynch mysterious puzzles will love this classic.

Critics underestimate this film and some audiences to do the opposite with it. It's not a bad film neither a great and spectacular film. What's missing here is a higher purpose, something that would made the whole thing more enjoyable than it is. The plot goes through so many twists that are efficiently put to confuse its audience but it gets lost somewhere at times; it just pretends to be a deeper film than it is, but it's not. No message, no ideas, it's given so little to start a discussion on how great the plot is. However, each person can make better readings than I did, so I won't be arrogant enough to say I'm right and you're wrong.

Purely for its aesthetic and the way it is composed, that's what makes of "Lost Highway" a superb film that holds its viewers from the first minute until the credits roll. It is incredible slow in its first half hour but even so you're already there and there's no way you can't walk out of this movie. It's THAT good! The director thinks big in his public while making this film: the soundtrack is absolutely great, one of those that really makes you feel stone cold, fearing what's going to happen next; it's an complex, exciting and thrilling film noir filled with many Lynch references and classic films references as well; it's unmistakable good. It's far more interesting to watch "Lost Highway" to see how the artist builds his art than to root for what's he making, the story and etc. It's far more daring to enjoy how the auteur creates the paranoia of his characters than the paranoia itself which is just a way to mindless people keep saying how crazy this film was. Lynch always knows how to fools and surprises us, never makes us uninterested or bored, he always pushes the envelope and "Lost Highway" is filled with those bizarre moments where you keep saying "Hold on!" trying to connect all the dots and process all the information given to you throughout the experience.

The greatest example of how to make an audience really connected with a film, surprised, shocked and excited at the same time is the classic meeting between the mystery man with Bill Pullman, where everything surrounding them stops, silence for a moment and then it's surprise after surprise. The plot is carefully built in its device of manipulate the viewers but it never explain things in satisfying ways, it's a little bit empty. LIke said earlier the way of the artist to make his thing is what makes of this film something really worth seeing but not just that, the acting is equally great, from the minor characters to the some of the more relevant figures. Best of the show: Robert Loggia playing an menacing gangster; the fore-mentioned Robert Blake, in a performance that should have gave him some awards and nominations (and as of now, his last acting job); Pullman and Arquette (playing double characters) are quite good, hold the film very well. But the director and/or his casting personal should hire another actor for the hunky guy played by Getty. While he has some sex appeal I found him a wrong choice for the part, someone good looking enough to make me believe that an blonde femme fatale like Arquette would feel so attracted to.

Certainly one of the strangest films of the 1990's and a good one. Take a dare and travel to the darkest paths that this lost highway can lead you to. Enjoy the ride and try not to lose your mind while in it. 9/10
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9/10
Where nightmares turn to dreams which then revert to nightmares…
RJBurke194228 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this one first in 1999 and was quite intrigued and puzzled; a second viewing in 2006, and some research, helped to clarify what many see as a narrative that makes no sense. On the contrary...

Everybody's on the highway of life and so is Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), a jazz saxophonist at a local club. Fred's life revolves around his jazz music – he plays tenor sax at a local club – and his wife, the stunning Renee (Patricia Arquette), who he thinks is having an affair. But, Fred's not sure with whom, and he's at a loss about what to do...

His seething jealousy is palpable, however, raging just behind the smooth mask of his handsome face.

The appearance of mysterious video tapes at his doorstep, on successive days, changes everything about their lives: first, just a video of the house front, then a second tape has some clips from inside, and when Fred and Renee see a third video of themselves asleep in bed, it is Renee who demands that they call in the cops. Puzzled, but well meaning, the cops give them some advice, check the house, and as they leave their cards with Fred and Renee, one of the cops says: "It's what we do."

Unhappily for Fred, they do more when, a day or so later, Fred finds another tape with a video of himself, covered with blood, and the dismembered body of Renee thrown about the bedroom… Fred's arrested, tried for murder and sentenced to die – a very quick and compressed action that's done in three or four quick frames, and with no need for much dialog.

Thereafter, the real story begins – and the viewer is then sucked into a bizarre and complex narrative that is so confusing many viewers throw up their hands in despair.

David Lynch is on record as saying that his film art has been much influenced by Francis Bacon, a painter whose work must be seen to be...hmmm...appreciated. No words of mine can effectively describe a Bacon painting: blurred images, raw flesh, body parts, blood galore, contorted faces all form the immediate images. Beyond that, it's up to you to interpret what you see. So also Lost Highway, it seems, which I would characterize as a dynamic – in a literal sense – work of art that must be seen, again and again and again.

As I indicated, most would say that the complete film makes no sense at all, and you'll find many quotes from critics – including Roger Ebert – to that effect. Space, here, is too short to fully discuss this narrative; suffice to say that I disagree with the Eberts of the world on this one.

Because, for me, Lost Highway makes complete sense when I accept the following premises: (1) Fred is in fact the murderer of his wife; (2) he is, at the very least, temporarily insane, with all the attendant implications of that condition; and (3) he is attempting to rationalize within his mind the unbearable knowledge of what he did. Hence, from go to whoa for the whole movie, we're inside Fred's fantasy as he attempts to absolve his guilt.

The irony, for Fred – and the viewer – is that we're never absolutely sure if Renee was in fact an unfaithful wife.

The plot, the sequence of events, appears to be non-linear – hence my initial confusion and that of others – and yet it is not. It's perfectly circular from start to finish – from the very first frame to the very last – with the full story unfolding with each bizarre event. However, being so complex and so effectively done, it would be foolhardy for me to attempt a summary. See the movie and you'll know why.

The actors in this tour-de-force are well suited to their roles. As Fred, Bill Pullman has that nice guy look that's perfect for hiding homicidal tendencies; this is still his best effort in serious acting, in my opinion. Patricia Arquette – the wife Renee, suspected of infidelity – appears as the quintessential femme fatale – sexy, voluptuous, devious, untrustworthy; her deadpan throughout is the obvious symbol of her dead love for Fred – or anybody, perhaps. Robert Blake – as The Mystery Man – looks suitably spooky as the visible manifestation of Evil. Robert Loggia does the role of gangster so well, I sometimes wonder about him…(just kidding). And, Balthazar Getty – an actor I'd not seen before – acquits himself well as the confused young lover (and as Bill Pullman's alter ego) playing with fire.

Finally, if you've not seen any Lynch movies, well... you're in for a psychological treat unlike anything you've seen before, maybe; but, if you're squeamish, be warned. There are gruesomely bloody scenes, explicit sex scenes, and – for fans of terror – creepy dark corridors, a staple of Lynch's later works. In a very real way, I think, Lost Highway is the first of a trilogy of films that has a theme which centers upon the catastrophic effects of jealous rage, and which is expounded upon further with Mullholland Drive (2001) and ending with Inland Empire (2007).
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9/10
Decent Lynch Primer in 21st Century Horror Noir
WriterDave13 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Lost Highway" is generally regarded as Lynch's most incoherent and inaccessible film outside of "Eraserhead." It certainly may be his darkest film both in image and mood. (POTENTIAL SPOILERS) Essentially it tells the tale of a man driven by jealously to murder his wife and her lover and the fantasy world he creates for himself while awaiting the electric chair. All the essential Lynch stuff is here: duality, multiple psychosis, homicidal tendencies, dangerous women, red curtains, electric disturbances, dead pan detectives, dream imagery, and non-linear storytelling. Lynch does for wife killing here what he earlier did for incest/child killing in "Twin Peaks" and later did for suicide in "Mulholland Drive." This film isn't quite as "fun" to try and figure out as "Mulholland Drive" but it still makes for a good mind bender, and you have to love the mid 90's goth metal soundtrack. With most Lynch films you are lulled into the dreamworld courtesy of composer Angelo Badalamenti's hypnotic and beautiful orchestrations, but here on this highway you are pounded into the psychogenic fugue of our protagonist with the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, and David Bowie. Also, the scenes with mystery man Robert Blake seem more disturbing and creepy than ever thanks to his current real life predicament on trial for killing his wife. Lynch really seemed to tap into a certain LA mindset with this one and probably didn't even realize it.
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9/10
Don't waste your time
kirkbroadhurst19 December 2003
If the comments you're reading here have you intrigued with their polarised views, wondering whether you'll love or hate this film, don't bother seeing it.

But if the comments make you laugh, you'll probably love the film it.

Let it be known that this is one of my favourite films of all time. Having said that, it's a puzzle which has no solution and that is part of it's appeal. You won't get a clear conclusion to your story here. You may not even be sure of the storyline at all. If these things concern you, don't waste your money. For all the poor cliches this year about Kill Bill's mastery of "style", this film has style to make Kill Bill look like a mere drop in the ocean..

It's a mood piece, a character study, a story to decipher, and a good old fashioned thriller. It's even a dialogue based comedy ala Woody Allen if you want it to be. It's up to you which one you will see it as.

Don't waste your time. If you like the unusual, the dark, the challenging and unique then buy this one. If you are sceptical of art and don't like the pseudo-intellectual crowd, give it a miss. Or if you aren't a judgemental fool, try watching it alone with a clear conscience and a lot of time to yourself. There aren't any others like it.

I rate it 10 out of 10. The only improvement I could suggest would be to spend some more money on superimposing the mystery man's face on Renee's whilst in bed. But even the budget constraints have an appeal almost 10 years on.
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9/10
"We've met before, haven't we?"
pzivojinovic27 June 2016
"Lost Highway" is undoubtedly one of David Lynch's masterpieces. All of Lynch's films are challenging. He rarely uses a linear plot structure and the line between what is real and what is imagined is usually blurred. "Lost Highway" is one of the most difficult films to interpret, but it can still be enjoyed even if you don't fully understand everything on the screen. The acting is very good. Pullman pulls off Fred's nervous demeanor perfectly and Arquette is suitably mysterious. I particularly liked Robert Loggia's performance and he oozed menace every time he was on the screen. Robert Blake as the Mystery Man sent shivers down my spine and he didn't always seem human. As well as a cameo from Marilyn Manson, watch out for a glimpse of Henry Rollins as a prison guard. The choice of music perfectly matches the mood. We hear from Rammstein, Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, Lou Reed, This Mortal Coil, and many others. The whole thing is held together by Angelo Badalamenti's haunting score.

The mystery man is truly the most fascinating aspect of this movie. In my opinion, he is Fred's idea of the "devil". He has supernatural powers and he feeds off the sins of mortals. The scene at the party is one of the creepiest movie scenes I've seen, yet at the same time it is hilarious. The way the music and party noise fade when the mystery man and Fred walk up to each other created a bizarre and surreal exchange. Another great scene of the movie is when Mr. Eddy and the mystery man call Pete together. "Yeah Pete, I just wanted to jump back on and let you know I'm glad your OK!" Click. That was great. And of course, I can't talk about the great scenes in the movie without mentioning the "tailgating" scene. Robert Loggia (Mr. Eddy) is a master. "Lost Highway" is a must-see. I still don't have all the answers and I know they'll never come. But it's the mood and eerie visual images (the reverse shot of the exploding cabin, like a premonition)that make this film so brilliant (and some awesome music tracks). This film will haunt you for years to come.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10.
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9/10
What Just Happened?
Scars_Remain8 April 2008
I've just finished watching Lost Highway and it's almost like I have no idea what hit me. This film has some of the creepiest moments I've ever seen on film. Granted, I wouldn't say it's as creepy as Eraserhead but it still gave me the same feeling. David Lynch is truly a master of film making and though his films are hard to follow and no one ever really understands the meaning, it's a lot of fun to try to figure out what it means for myself and come to my own conclusions. This movie requires the viewer to do that.

The cast is great and perfect for the film. There are awesome performances from Bill Pullman, Balthazar Getty, Patricia Arquette, Robert Blake and even a couple funny cameos from Henry Rollins and Richard Pryor. The story is hard to follow and confusing like most David Lynch films. I've found that with Lynch's work, the best thing to do is just sit back, try not to think so hard and enjoy. You can try to figure out what it all means afterward.

Fans of Lynch will no doubt enjoy this film. Just prepare to be creeped out and confused!
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9/10
Wonderfully disturbing
Nephilim-619 April 2003
This isn't a simple Hollywood style movie. Basically all the negative reviews I've read concern the fact that the story doesn't make sense.

Mainly I think because most people are accustomed to the simple storylines that basically all Major Hollywood movies serve up. The story does make sense in a certain way. Most people don't seem to pick up on that. If you watch closely you'll notice that certain events happen twice.

Just from different view points. Take the scenes involving Fred coming home from the party. You'll hear certain sounds. Those same sounds apear later on in the movie. Only seen from a different viewpoint. Same as the Dick Laurant Is Dead scene. My theory on that is that the characters are stuck in a time loop. Which would explain the weird occurance during the car chase at the end of the movie. Since right after that happens Fred is at his house again and mentions to himself that Dick Laurant Is Dead. And I think the Timeloop is caused by that Highway though the desert we keep seeing.

Anyway that's what me and a couple of friends concluded after discussing the movie a bunch of times.

Anyway I love this movie. Nice and disturbing. A gem among the garbage Hollywood usually produces.
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9/10
very underrated
baberuthhead24 July 2002
This is a film that very few people seem to agree on. I think it is one of the better films that David Lynch has done. It is ahead of its time, and highly unique, even though it pays homage to many film noirs before it. Highly Recommended. Magnifique.
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9/10
David Lynch's Confusing Compulsion
Piper-1012 February 1999
Folks, I think I've got an answer. Who was it up there that said something about this being a lesson of sorts in male insecurities? I think there's something to that. Consider: Fred Maddison is obviously bad in bed--the one scene with Renee is in extreme slow motion. Seeing's how I'm short on time, we'll leave that alone.

I just want to tell everyone out there that this film is entirely decipherable. It's a puzzle box, but a deeply rewarding one. Because once you see it, you realize this truly is a wonderful mood piece. It goes not for explanation, which would detract a great deal from the emotional core of the movie, but for expression. The music is an A+ effort, and so is the character of the Mystery Man. Lost Highway is a nice blend of hateful spices, and if you ever do figure out everything about it...forget it. Unlearn it. Look at it as a possibly routine, drab, everyday subject turned magnificent. Because what are we left with? We're left with angst. We're left exposed to our aggressions. We're left feeling the urge to find our own Dick Laurent, who spoiled our innocent women.
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9/10
David Lynch is GOD!
Goethe-216 November 1998
What an excellent film!. The first 45 min. of the movie are the best ones I´ve ever seen in History. The cast is excellent. The dark photography, the wonderful soundtrack, the strange story, plenty of hidden secrets... everything is perfect! When I saw the film, I went out the theatre completely stunned. Mr. Lynch, you are great...
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9/10
David Lynch at his most bizarre but that doesn't in this case mean that's a bad thing
TheLittleSongbird16 September 2014
Lost Highway is not Lynch at his most accessible, that would be Blue Velvet followed by The Elephant Man and The Straight Story, and I would put those films as well as Mulholland Drive (one of his most polarising along with Eraserhead) as better films of his, but while it has divided and will divide viewers I did love the film. Lost Highway does occasionally get confusing (particularly from a psychological stand-point) as a result of trying to have too many ideas, which does seem to be what the main complaint is against it, but for me there was very little wrong (as a bit of advice it is a good idea to be acquainted with Lynch's style first with The Elephant Man or Blue Velvet being the best place to start). Lost Highway looks amazingly stylish, the cinematography some of the best of any film personally seen in a while, the colours are expressive and bursting with colour and hypnotism and the images are surreal but impeccably hypnotising. Lynch's directing is highly accomplished if not quite some of his best directing like Mulholland Drive or Blue Velvet. He also does a great job in not making Lost Highway too formulaic (there is a sense that formally and structurally that there was a fair bit of re-invention involved), in fact it was one of the freshest and most unique psychological mystery thrillers personally viewed. Like Eraserhead, Lost Highway is basically an atmosphere/mood piece and it works amazingly as one. It may be Lynch at his strangest but that made the film even more fascinating to watch, no matter what you think of some of the story the impact the atmosphere has in the film cannot be denied. The thriller elements are enough to set the pulse racing and the mystery elements while made obvious about half-way through have a lot of suspense. Bill Pullman's exemplary here, some of the best work he's ever done even, and standouts too are Patricia Arquette at her most sensual and Robert Blake at his creepiest. The music score is incredibly haunting with fitting use of pre-existing songs and while spare the dialogue doesn't stick out like a sore thumb too much. All in all, a bizarre film but with the mood it has and how well-made and directed it is it is a very compelling one too. Not Lynch at his best but around the top end of his filmography. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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9/10
Now this is what a movie looks like
GWWilder4 April 2005
this is one of those flicks you got to watch for a week strait. This may take a lot of coffee. I like mine thick, like honey. After you have rounded enough coffee and toilet paper, proceed to where a groove in your couch. This is powerful film-making, boys and girls. It's a film noir film darker than any i've seen and contains all the elements with that good old David lynch twist. I am particularly impressed with Robert Blake. If you think he's creepy in real life watch this movie. Bill Pullman showed an incredible amount of confusion, more than would be expected. I expect he was just as confused with the plot as the majority of those who have viewed it. Wild at Heart is a good Lynch movie to pick up. Although Lost Highway has the greatest head wound ever, Wild at Heart has more than any of his movies. And thats all that matters, right.
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9/10
The Stylish Furniture is Just as Demented as the People
eddiez6129 May 2011
There are plenty of comments here explaining or attempting to explain the meaning of the events in Lost Highway so I won't bother to repeat them, as fascinating as that mystery is. At the end of this comment I'll state what I've discovered about the seemingly impossible story. As deeply disturbing as the story is and as profoundly unsettling as the score is, and as outrageously bizarre as Robert Blake's character is, I was more hypnotized by the decor. What most haunts me about this astounding film is the strangely anthropomorphic home furnishings.

End tables and cabinets and bed stands all seem to be desperately hugging the walls, fearfully cowering in tight, tense, anxious postures. Their surfaces are all sickly slick but also somehow oddly textured, like coiled reptiles. These unnatural objects and the distracted people moving around them seem to be biding their time, politely tolerating one another till at any moment one might suddenly confront the other. A meager wedge of a telephone caddy might lash out with its jutting crisp edge to lacerate an artery. Or a modest, compact divan might unhinge, invert and swallow a balancing sitter. These sculpted, tailored accessories contain great menacing dread. Wall treatments are densely saturated slabs of muted fleshy color, or columns of lush velvets, or pristine expanses of immaculate coolness. It's all presented as fashionable, trendy, tasteful, but their effect is anything but comforting. There's more than a hint of that pervasive late 50s early 60s chintz that so many people accepted as "modern" but was really only awkwardly camouflaged poverty. It's a look that many upwardly mobile hipsters unwittingly carried with them into their new improved mortgaged lives. A faint musty perfume of timid shame clings to everything. How David has embedded that repressed, cloying, lower middle class suburban experience within inanimate forms is remarkable.

And the movie is pretty amazing too. It's a complex jigsaw that doesn't all fall into place till after it's over and you've sorted through the torrent of surreal paranoia. It does all line up, perfectly, but it takes considerable cerebral effort to get there. That experience of resolving this dark, grungy puzzle is more than half the pleasure as you are rewarded with a spectacularly lucid, logical story that is equal to if not superior to any of its masterful elements. Many people on IMDb insist on giving it all away and that's a shame, because finding out for yourself is always the best way, the only way...
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9/10
This is a likely explanation. You can dance from here.
Kdas-24 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Hi guys. This is mostly for those who HAVE seen the movie, although with Lynch's films it doesn't really matter:))) You could have seen it 10 times and still be none the wiser:)

So... It really makes sense after you figure out a thing or two about the Mulholland Dr. (which I think is the movie of all times, much higher than even the Lost Highway, since Mulholland Dr. has as many spiritual messages as your normal Indian Upanishad, Sutra or a Buddhist koan). First, you have to pick a point of reality here. What follows is just a possible exercise to get you going. Having liked Mulh.Dr., I figure, why not begin from the middle, from the Pete in his workshop. Most probably a VERY ordinary guy, nothing like we see in the movie. Most probably the sad reality is that the guy catches a glimpse of the local mafia boss with his exceptional lass, fantasizes about loads of easy sex with her, croaks his Sheila friend and rationalizes it with another fantasy about being Fred, protecting/revenging his family life and killing Eddie... And the truth of the matter is that Pete is never out of the prison throughout the movie, he is just sitting there awaiting his electric chair and fantasizing his double-nested rationalizations and wishes. But they don't hold well, and both at the beginning and at the end we just see an empty highway, with someone tearing at it, but who is that someone? A crazy misguided wishful thinker, a nobody imagining himself into an even worse nobody... Is that us??

A wakeup call for us. Why don't we be real, let go of the false identifications, gaze beyond illusion, towards Vaikuntha at last... What do you think?
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