Mulholland Dr. (2001) Poster

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This is why this movie is brilliant... actually... never mind.
ikonoklastik22 February 2004

Recently, I read an excerpt from a book by Dennis Lim called "David Lynch: The Man from Another Place." In it, the author mentions how much Lynch despises interpretation of his work. He writes:

"Writing about David Lynch, it can be hard not to hear his voice in your head, protesting the violence being done to his work. 'As soon as you put things in words, no one ever sees the film the same way,' he once told me. 'And that's what I hate, you know. Talking—it's real dangerous.' Not for nothing does "Mulholland Drive," the Lynch movie that has invited the most fervent flurry of explication, end with a word of caution: 'Silencio.'"

This reminded me that 11 years before this edit I had written this very review on IMDb, which contained an interpretation of the film's plot. I've decided to remove all of that. Whether or not you are satisfied with a particular interpretation of the plot should be irrelevant to your enjoyment of the film. I enjoyed it before I had that satisfying interpretation. And I'm hoping that I can clear it from my mind the next time I watch "Mulholland Dr."

I will leave one thing from my original post. A quote by Peter Greenaway. "I would argue that if you want to write narratives, be an author, be a novelist, don't be a film maker. Because I believe film making is so much more exciting in areas which aren't primarily to do with narrative."
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My views on why Mulholland Drive is a hair-raisingly good movie
Martin-779 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
There's a sign on The Lost Highway that says:


(but you already knew that, didn't you?)

Since there's a great deal of people that apparently did not get the point of this movie, I'd like to contribute my interpretation of why the plot makes perfect sense. As others have pointed out, one single viewing of this movie is not sufficient. If you have the DVD of MD, you can "cheat" by looking at David Lynch's "Top 10 Hints to Unlocking MD" (but only upon second or third viewing, please.) ;)

First of all, Mulholland Drive is downright brilliant. A masterpiece. This is the kind of movie that refuse to leave your head. Not often are the comments on the DVDs very accurate, but Vogue's "It gets inside your head and stays there" really hit the mark.

David Lynch deserves praise for creating a movie that not only has a beautifully stylish look to it - cinematography-wise, has great acting (esp. Naomi Watts), a haunting soundtrack by Badalamenti, and a very dream-like quality to it -- but on top of it all it also manages to involve the viewer in such a way that few movies have before. (After all, when is the last time you saw a movie that just wouldn't leave your mind and that everyone felt compelled to talk and write about, regardless of whether they liked it or hated it?)

Allright, enough about all that, it's time to justify those statements.

Most people that have gone through some effort to try to piece the plot together will have come to the conclusion that the first half of the picture is an illusion/a dream sequence.

Of course, that's too bad for all those trying to make sense of the movie by expecting "traditional" methods in which the story is laid out in a timely, logic and linear manner for the viewer. But for those expecting that, I urge you to check the name of the director and come back again. ;)

MD is the story of the sad demise of Diane Selwyn, a wannabe-actor who is hopelessly in love with another actor, Camilla Rowles. Due to Diane's lack of talent, she is constantly struggling to advance her career, and feels she failed to deliver on her own and her parents' expectations. Upon realizing that Camilla will never be hers (C. becomes engaged with Adam Kesher, the director), she hires a hitman to get rid of her, and subsequently has to deal with the guilt that it produces.

The movie first starts off with what may seem as a strange opening for this kind of thriller; which is some 50s dance/jitterbug contest, in which we can see the main character Betty giving a great performance. We also see an elderly couple (which we will see twice more throughout the movie) together with her, and applauding her.

No, wait. This is what most people see the first time they view it. There's actually another very significant fact that is given before the credits - the camera moving into an object (although blurry) and the scene quickly fading out. If you look closely, the object is actually a pillow, revealing that what follows is a dream.

The main characters seen in the first half of the movie:

Betty: Diane Selwyn's imaginary self, used in the first half of the movie that constitutes the "dream-sequence" - a positive portrayal of a successful, aspiring young actor (the complete opposite of Diane). 'Betty' was chosen as the name as that is the real name of the waitress at Winkies. Notice that in the dream version, the waitresses' name is 'Diane'.

Rita: The fantasy version of Camilla Rhodes that, through Diane's dream, and with the help of an imaginary car-accident, is turned into an amnesiac. This makes her vulnerable and dependent on Diane's love. She is then conveniently placed in Betty/Diane's aunt's luxurious home which Betty has been allowed to stay in.

Coco: In real life, Adam's mother. In the dream part, the woman in charge of the apartment complex that Betty stays in. She's mainly a strong authority figure, as can be witnessed in both parts of the film.

Adam: The director. We know from the second half that he gets engaged with Camilla. His sole purpose for being in the first half of the movie is only to serve as a punching bag for Betty/Diane, since she develops such hatred towards him.

Aunt Ruth: Diane's real aunt, but instead of being out of town, she is actually dead. Diane inherited the money left by her aunt and used that to pay for Camilla's murder.

Mr. Roach: A typical Lynchian character. Not real; appears only in Diane's dream sequence. He's a mysterious, influential person that controls the chain of events in the dream from his wheelchair. He serves much of the same function as the backwards-talking dwarf (which he also plays) in Twin Peaks.

The hitman: The person that murders Camilla. This character is basically the same in both parts of the movie, although rendered in a slightly more goofy fashion in the dream sequence (more on that below).

Now, having established the various versions of the characters in the movie, we can begin to delve into the plot. Of course I will not go into every little detail (neither will I lay it out chronologically), but I will try to explain some of the important scenes, in relation to Lynch' "hint-sheet".

As I mentioned above, Camilla was re-produced as an amnesiac through her improbable survival of a car-accident in the first 10 minutes of the movie, which left her completely vulnerable. What I found very intriguing with MD, is that Lynch constantly gives hints on what is real and what isn't. I've already mentioned the camera moving into the pillow, but notice how there's two cars riding in each lane approaching the limo.

Only one of the cars actually hit the limo; what about the other? Even if they stayed clear of the accident themselves, wouldn't they try to help the others, or at least call for help? My theory is that, since this is a dream, the presence of the other car is just set aside, and forgotten about. Since, as Rogert Ebert so eloquently puts it "Like real dreams, it does not explain, does not complete its sequences, lingers over what it finds fascinating, dismisses unpromising plotlines."

Shortly after Rita crawls down from the crash site at Mulholland Dr., and makes her way down the hillside and sneaks into Aunt Ruth's apartment, Betty arrives and we see this creepy old couple driving away, staring ghoulishly at each other and grinning at themselves and the camera. This is the first indication that what we're seeing is a nightmare.

Although the old couple seem to be unfamiliar to Betty, I think they're actually her parents (since they were applauding her at the jitterbug contest). Perhaps she didn't know them all that well, and didn't really have as good a relationship with them as she wanted, so the couple is shown as very pleasant and helpful to her in the dream. They also represent her feelings of guilt from the murder, and Diane's sense of unfulfillment regarding her unachieved goals in her life.

A rather long and hilarious scene is the one involving the hitman. Diane apparently sees him as the major force behind the campaign trying to pressure the director to accept Camilla's part in the movie (from Adam's party in the second half of the movie), and he therefore occupies a major part of her dream. Because of her feelings of guilt and remorse towards the murder of Camilla, a part of her wants him to miss, so she turns him into a dumb criminal.

This scene, I think, is also Lynch's attempt at totally screwing his audience over, since they're given a false pretence in which to view the movie.

Gotta love that 'Something just bit me bad' line, though. :)

The next interesting scene is the one with the two persons at Twinkies, who are having a conversation about how one of them keep having this recurring nightmare involving a man which is seen by him through a wall outside of the diner that they're sitting in. After a little talk, they head outside and keep walking toward the corner of a fence, accompanied of course by excellent music matching the mood of the scene.

When reaching the corner, a bum-like character with a disfigured face appears out from behind the corner, scaring the living crap out of the man having the nightmare. This nightmare exists only in Diane's mind; she saw that guy in the diner when paying for the murder. So, in short, her obessions translate into that poor guy's nightmares. The bum also signifies Diane's evil side, as can be witnessed later in the movie.

The Cowboy constitutes (along with the dwarf) one of the strange characters that are always present in the Lynchian landscape -- Diane only saw him for a short while at Adam's party, but just like our own dreams can award insignificant persons that we hardly know a major part in our dreams, so can he be awarded an important part in her dream. We are also given further clues during his scenes that what we're seeing is not real (his sudden disappearance, etc.)

The Cowboy is also used as a tool to mock the Director, when he meets up with him at the odd location (the lights here give a clear indication that this is part of a dream). Also notice how he says that he will appear one more time if he (Adam) does good, or two more times if he does bad. Throughout the movie he appears two more times, indicating to Diane that she did bad. He is also the one to wake her up to reality (that scene is probably an illusion made to fit into her requirements of him appearing twice), and shortly thereafter she commits suicide.

The espresso-scene with the Castigliane brothers (where we can see Badalamenti, the composer, as Luigi) is probably a result of the fact that Diane was having an espresso just before Camilla and Adam made their announcement at Adam's party in the second half. It could at the same time also be a statement from Lynch.

During the scene in which they enter Diane's apartment, the body lying in the bed is Camilla, but notice how she's assumed Diane's sleeping position; Diane is seeing herself in her own dream, but the face is not hers, although it had the same wounds on the face as Diane would have after shooting herself. This scene is also filled with some genuine Lynchian creepiness. Since Diane did not know where (or when) the hitman would get to Camilla and finish her off, she just put her into her own home.

In real life, Diane's audition for the movie part was bad. In her dream, she delivers a perfect audition - leaving the whole crew ecstatic about her performance.

Also interesting is the fact that the money that in real-life was used to pay for Camilla's murder now appears in Rita/Camilla's purse. This is part of Diane's undoing of her terrible act by effectively being given the money back, as the murder now hasn't taken place.

When her neighbor arrives to get her piano-shaped ashtray, another hint is given; she takes the ashtray from her table and leaves, yet later when Camilla and Betty have their encounter on the couch, we see the ashtray appear again when the camera pans over the table, suggesting that Betty's encounter with the neighbor was a fantasy.

The catch phrase of the movie Adam is auditioning actresses for is "She is the girl"; which are the exact same words that Diane uses when giving the hitman Camilla's photo resume.

The blue box and the key represent the major turning point in the movie, and is where the true identities of the characters are revealed. There's much symbolism going on here; the box may represent Diane's future (it's empty), or it may be a sort of a Pandora's box (the hitman laughs when she asks him what the key will open). Either way, it is connected to the murder by means of the blue key (which is placed next to her after the murder has taken place). The box is also seen at the end of the movie in the hands of the disfigured bum.

Club Silencio is a neat little addition to further remind the viewer that what s/he is viewing is not real. It also signifies that Diane is about to wake up to her reality (her reality being a nightmare that she is unable to escape from, even in her dreams).

During the chilling scene at the end where the creepy old couple reappear, Diane is tormented in such a way that she sees suicide as the only way out in order to escape the screams and to avoid being haunted by her fears.

Anyway, that is my $0.02. Hope this could help people from bashing out at this movie and calling it 'the worst movie ever' or something to that effect, without realizing the plot.

As usual, Lynch is all about creating irrational fears, and he certainly achieves that with this picture as well.

10 out of 10.
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Not my favorite Lynch film, but very good and intriguing
BrandtSponseller28 February 2005
After two brief scenes that at first seem unrelated to the rest of the film, we see a dark-haired, obviously rich beauty in the back of a limousine. Her driver stops at an odd location on Mulholland Drive, which is a twisting, thickly wooded two-lane road full of mansions overlooking Los Angeles. Just as her driver and another man in the passenger seat turn around to kill her, two drag racing cars from the opposite direction come crashing into the limo. Only the dark-haired woman survives. She works her way down the ridge to Sunset Boulevard and hides in a vacationing woman's apartment. Shortly after, Betty (Naomi Watts), the vacationing woman's niece, shows up at the apartment and runs into the dark haired woman, who now has amnesia. The bulk of the first part of the film is Betty and the dark haired woman trying to figure out who she is, why people were trying to kill her and why she had thousands of dollars and a strange key in her purse. This is interspersed with oddly surreal threads about Hollywood producers and directors, with occasional forays into a land of hoodlums and prostitutes.

The above may sound a bit complicated and disjointed, but that's not the half of it. The film is constructed so that the meaning will always be open to interpretation. It's basically guaranteed that you will not understand this film and you will not have very much confidence arriving at your own interpretation the first time around. Even if you have a lot of experience with like-minded films--such as Memento (2000), Donnie Darko (2001), The I Inside (2003) and The Butterfly Effect (2004)--you may not understand it on a second viewing, either. The studio was aware of this to the extent that they had director David Lynch write "10 clues to unlocking this thriller" and they put it on the back of the chapter listing insert in the DVD. Lynch being of a particular disposition, these clues are almost as cryptic as the film itself. It doesn't help when trying to figure it out in the early stages that the structure is extremely complex. It takes a very long time to figure out what parts are supposed to be "real" and there is a complex nesting of flashbacks in some sections, with only contextual clues that they're flashbacks.

But is the film worth watching, or worth trying to figure out? That depends on your tastes, obviously. On a surface level, the film is certainly attractive if you are a fan of surrealism, although it will tend to seem a bit slow and overly disjointed to some viewers. But those qualities, and many other surrealist aspects of the film, are typical of Lynch. A prime Lynchian moment is the old couple in the beginning bizarrely smiling almost as if they're alien pod people trying to put on a front. If you're familiar with that style and like it, you'll find much to love here, although in many ways, Mulholland Drive is fairly understated for Lynch. It's also worth noting, for viewers who'll primarily be interested in it or who enjoy it just as much as other aspects, that Mulholland Drive has a quite steamy lesbian scene. It's not gratuitous, although I have no problems with gratuitousness, but is instead an important hinge in the film.

Like all of Lynch's films, it's easy to become enraptured in his unique approach to every aspect of filmic art and his attention to detail. Any serious student of film (including "armchair students"/"cinephiles") should study Mulholland Drive; many will love it. Lynch doesn't let anything pass unmanipulated. He includes brilliant color schemes (such as the plethora of reds and pinks) with important symbolism. He makes unusual use of sound, such as the ringing telephone carrying over into the section of score that follows it (when Betty first arrives at the airport). He directs his actors to deliver their lines in a plethora of bizarre ways, such as his characteristic odd pauses. He lets his odd and surprising sense of humor poke through, such as the name "Winkie's", and the "Hot Dogs--made for Pinks" sign that provides a clue to some of the color symbolism.

Lynch's attention to detail in production design provides important, subtle clues throughout the film to help one unlock the meaning. It's interesting to note that Lynch even apparently demands that the DVD programming be unusual--there are no chapters on the disc; you must either watch the film in real time or fast forward or rewind to get back to particular points.

If the surrealism and veiled meaning of the film are attractive to you, or if you're just fond of "puzzles", then Mulholland Drive is well worth watching for that aspect. There is a fairly accepted interpretation of the film, at least on a broad, generalized level. I won't recount the standard interpretation here--it is worth researching, but only after you've seen the film a couple times and have reached your own conclusions. Many articles and monographs have been written on the film and interpretations; there are even websites dedicated to it.

For my money, however, although I generally love Lynch and find many things about Mulholland Drive attractive, it is not quite a 10 for me, at least not yet (I have a feeling that my score could still rise on subsequent viewings). To me, though, the "twist" aspect of the film is done much better in other works such as The I Inside and The Butterfly Effect. Mulholland Drive is more attractive to me for its surface surrealistic touches, but the plot doesn't carry them as well as some of Lynch's other films.

Still, Mulholland Drive is certainly recommended for the right crowd. If you're serious about film and do not mind having to think about what you watch (as if those two would not necessarily coincide), you shouldn't miss this one.
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love lynch, or hate lynch, admit he's a master
orangecatdancing28 January 2002
"twin peaks" and "blue velvet" have always been two of my favourite pieces of film-making, and even though past films by lynch have been slightly disappointing for me they have always been worth watching a number of times. to be pretentious, lynch can be like a good wine - he must be savoured and mulled over. but in the end you must make up your own mind about what you have seen, for lynch never gives you the full answers.

many people will walk out of "mulholland drive" possibly wanting to throttle themselves over the mind-bending visual jigsaw puzzle that has just unfolded before them. but there is a twisted logic to this film, you just have to look for the clues. betty (naomi watts) arrives in hollywood, doe-eyed and in search of stardom. she then finds an amnesiac in her bathroom who has escaped from an attempted murder on mulholland drive. together they try to uncover the secrets behind the amnesiac's life. this all leads to a club called silencio, where a blue box will reveal all. and that is when the film throws everything out the window. people we thought we knew are entirely different people altogether... is it a dream? a reminiscence about life's previous escapades? you will either love this film or hate it. david lynch always draws such extreme reactions from his viewers. but as his universe itself is always about extremes, it is fitting that his films provoke such reactions.

It is best to look at this film thematically, rather than as a straight-forward narrative. and appreciate the fact that lynch is a film-maker who will still let you draw your own conclusions. he has had many imitators as of late, particularly in "vanilla sky", where a mind-bending film decides to give you all the answers in the last rushed five minutes, and you will probably forget about that film as soon as you walk out of the cinema. mulholland drive will haunt you.
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Possibly Lynch's best; brilliant, enigmatic, and masterfully filmed
KnightLander21 June 2005
Originally filmed in 1999 as a TV pilot, "Mulholland Dr." was rejected. The next year, David Lynch received money to film new scenes to make the movie suitable to be shown in theaters. He did so - and created one of the greatest, most bizarre and nightmarish films ever made.

The film really doesn't have main characters, but if there were main characters, they would be Betty (Naomi Watts) and Rita (Laura Elena Harring). Betty is a perky blonde who's staying in her aunt's apartment while she auditions for parts in movies. She finds Rita in her aunt's apartment and decides to help her. You see, Rita's lost her memory. She has no clue who she is. She takes her name, Rita, from a "Gilda" poster in the bathroom. So the two set out to discover who Rita really is.

David Lynch has been known for making some weird movies, but this film is the definition of weird. It's bizarre, nightmarish, and absolute indescribable. It's like a dream captured on film. By the 100-minute point, the film has become extremely confusing - but if you've been watching closely, it will make perfect sense. Having watched the movie and then read an article on the Internet pointing out things in the film, I now understand the movie completely.

The acting is very good. Watts is terrific. Justin Theroux is very good as a Hollywood director facing problems with the local mob. The music is excellent. Angelo Badalamenti delivers one of his finest scores. And the directing - hah! David Lynch is as masterful a filmmaker as ever there was.

Is this your type of film? Well, that depends. You should probably view more of Lynch's work before watching this movie. You'll need to be patient with the film, and probably watch it a second time to pick up the many clues Lynch has left throughout the movie. For Lynch fans, this is a dream come true.

"Mulholland Dr." is a masterpiece. It's brilliant, enigmatic, and masterfully filmed. I love it.
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David Lynch, The Blue-Haired Muse and Master of the Macabre
EThompsonUMD14 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert - although this is a plot almost as impossible to spoil as it is to completely explain.

'Mulholland Drive' is by far the most successful expression of David Lynch's cinematographic style and vision since the first season of his 'Twin Peaks' TV series. As Lynch enthusiasts know, his is a style and vision uniquely blended from film noir, horror movies, surrealism, and parapsychology – with a healthy dose of postmodern self-consciousness and black humor thrown in for good measure. All these elements are richly at work in 'Mulholland Drive,' making for a riveting, hair-raising, and highly satisfying film experience – especially if one does not become overly obsessed with trying to make all the plot pieces fit into a logical, mystery-unraveling whole.

The film features wonderful performances by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring in the lead roles of young women whose lives intersect in various ways amid a Hollywood setting that is itself an hallucinated blend of contemporary reality, retro '50s nostalgia, and satirical self-aggrandizement. Their seemingly random initial meeting occurs after the film's opening scene, in which Harring's character escapes an attempt on her life thanks to a fortuitous, not to mention horrific, automobile accident. Staggering down the hillside from Mulholland Drive to Sunset Boulevard (the two most archetypal of Hollywood thoroughfares), she finds her way to the very apartment that Betty (Naomi Watts) is about to sublet from her 'Aunt Ruth,' a purportedly successful actress who is off to Canada to begin a new movie. As we later learn, Betty had herself arrived from Deep River, Ontario, shortly after winning a jitterbug contest.

A highly energetic and stylized flashback to the contest forms one of two pre-credit prologue sequences that frame Betty's descent from the clichéd would-be-starlet's bright-eyed innocence to the debauched madness of spurned lover and going nowhere bit-part actress. Unable to remember her own name, the Harring character adopts the name 'Rita' from a movie poster for the film noir classic 'Gilda' that adorns Aunt Ruth's apartment. (Actually, it turns out Aunt Ruth has long since deceased and whose apartment we're really in is a good question to be resolved in future viewings.) Anyway, Betty determines to help Rita find out what happened and to discover the source of the rolls of cash and a mysterious blue key that the women find in Rita's purse. The two women begin to piece together clues that would seem to lead to Rita's true identity. They also, by the way, become lovers, at one point radiating such an incendiary chemistry that I cannot recall its equal in mainstream treatments of Lesbian lover affairs (if a Lynch movie can ever be designated 'mainstream').

At the local Winkies restaurant (a recurring location fraught with dream-like significance behind its grubby realistic facade), Rita's attention is caught by a waitress's name-tag reading 'Diane.' This leads her to a recollection of someone named 'Diane Selwyn,' whose apartment the two women soon visit and, at Betty's insistence, break into. I won't reveal what they find within, but suffice it to say the scene is rendered with vintage Lynchian creepiness. Subsequently, Rita wakes in night sweats speaking Spanish and hurrying Betty to an all-night magic show/theater called 'Silencio,' where the arts of illusion and lip/instrumental- syncing are practiced with manic intensity and where the Blue- Haired Lady, as she is noted in the end credits, reigns as the presiding Muse. Framed by the blue-lit, red-curtained Silencio Theatre, the blue-haired lady occupies the last shot in the film, perhaps a symbol for the controlling artistic imagination – rather like Steven's "man with the blue guitar" as filtered through bad- drug surrealism.

During the Silencio sequence, and as Rebekah Del Rio cameo lip-syncs her own powerful Spanish rendition of Roy Orbison's 'Crying'), a shattering epiphany occurs when Betty opens her own purse to discover a blue box with a keyhole that obviously matches the key in Rita's purse. Even if we do not delve too deeply into the Freudian sexual symbolism of purses, the moment is a singularly Hitchcockian one in that the matching of the key and box leads to a complete inversion of what we thought we knew and into a whole new set of character relationships and meanings. Not the least of these reversals is the discovery that Betty is the sought-for Diane Selwyn and the spurned lover of Camilla Rhodes (i.e. Rita). Camilla in turn is a Latin femme fatale movie star to whom Diane is indebted for the few minor roles she has managed to secure and, more significantly, to whom she is emotionally subjugated.

After these and other discoveries in the last third of the film, the problem of accounting for the first two thirds of the movie is not so straightforwardly resolved as in 'Vertigo.' While bits and pieces of imagery and dialog suggest that much, if not all, of the earlier material is projected and displaced from the fevered subconscious of Diane herself, other bits and pieces suggest the perhaps supernatural intervention of a cast of characters drawing direct inspiration from 'Twin Peaks,' including Michael J. Anderson reprising his unearthly dwarfish powers and a Bob- variant who hangs out behind Winkies and is the ultimate repository for the blue box and its id-like associations.

However one fits the pieces together, though, the whole of 'Mulholland Drive' is much greater – and more mysterious – than the sum of its parts. Lynch takes us on a wonderfully inventive, provocative, and pleasurably disturbing mind trip. What's more, the film's cinematography is stunning, the soundtrack filled with evocative atmospherics, the acting superb, and the directing /editing masterful. This may well have been the unacknowledged Best Picture of 2001 among major American releases.
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Where does it begin and end??
dmhumphrey30 November 2001
Hitchcock would be proud of this movie. Even when nothing happens, it is suspenseful. Director David Lynch overuses a few cheap thrill tricks here and there, but he intersperses them with other cinematographic techniques to keep it from becoming obtuse.

Altogether surreal, this movie is like waking up and remembering most of a dream but not enough to make it sensible. I am still trying to figure it all out and will probably have to see it again to catch things I missed and which may help me understand it better. It is a very detailed plot that very slowly comes together, so you must be patient and pay attention. Get your bathroom trip out of the way before it starts. And yet, the plot is overshadowed by the theme, the mood, the character development, and the filming techniques.

The dual roles of the main actress, Naomi Watts, showcase her enormous talent. That is, when I could get my eyes off of her co-star. What an acting pair.

Lynch surprises throughout the movie with unusual camera angles, the length/timing of editing cuts, jumping back and forth between scenes. Combined with smart use of music and sounds, it all helps to build suspense in our minds, doubtless a major objective of the director. Well, he kept me on the edge of my seat, even had me talking to the actors to be careful here, and not be so naive there. You know, the kind of stuff you want to smack your kids for doing at the movies.
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Frustrated and Confused
danfeit3 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Like most, I rented this after I heard the universal praise. And despite COUNTLESS bizarre, unexplainable moments along the way, I was very interested and entertained through 100 minutes of the film. Then the two women went to the "performance" late at night. The rest of movie (which is another 40 minutes by the way) is even WEIRDER than the first part AND completely contradict and dump on what I had already seen. Then the movie abruptly ends.

Baffled, I wandered over to my computer to see if I could buy a clue as to what just happened. Nothing made sense, and I'm a pretty clever guy. None of these other user comments made sense, even when they say "SPOILERS." I still have no idea what they're saying. Someone's dream? Not real? Then what's the point of a 2 hour 30 minute movie if it's "not real?" Or is it real? I'm forced to make a choice. Either:

[a] The movie is a work of genius on a MENSA level and I'm simply too stupid to understand it.

The movie is weird for weird's sake and just doesn't make sense. Everyone who loves it is trying to save face and pretend like they "get" it.

I choose . Screw you guys, I'm going home...
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What the hell?
salamander_4329 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
*May contain spoilers*

Did I miss something? Why has everyone got such a boner for this movie?

I feel like the director has just stolen my wallet, given me the finger and slapped my mum in the face. Only the wallet stands for 2 and a half hours of my life, the finger is a metaphor for the bitter disappointment I feel at being led on to believe I would enjoy this waste of time and as for slapping my mum in the face? Well that's just my mind interpreting the similar shock and dissatisfaction she must feel at sitting through the whole stupid thing with me. That's what watching this movie is like: metaphor after metaphor, symbol after symbol. You don't even find out that four fifths of the movie was clumsily representing something else until you've watched so much of it that it's too late to turn back. You grip your sweaty hands together hoping that this mess is going to make ANY kind of sense before it finishes It doesn't. OK, so everyone is saying you have to watch it twice, thrice, four times a winner. WHY THE SHIZZ would I watch it again? I've already lost 150 minutes of my time on this earth to it! All you fans are admitting that there is no right or wrong answer, that the film is open to anyone's interpretation. But what is the point in a movie that doesn't mean anything? I realise to some people it does: Diane basically dreams an idealised variation on her relationship and life with Camilla before she caps herself because she's actually mad and full of guilt over having her killed or something. Why go to all that trouble in the first place? This would have been a perfectly good film if there really were mobsters who try to kill an actress in order to get their own star in the leading role, she gets amnesia, becomes a lezzer with some other actress and they go on wacky adventures around Hollywood trying to figure out who she is. Instead Mr Lynch throws all that away with the cop out explanation that "Ohh, it was all a dream...woooo" and instead we are left with some crazy bint and her weird fantasy. It reminds me of From Dusk Till Dawn, a great fugitive movie until the really poor vampire costumes come out. In short - terrible movie. You can point out the marvellous cinematography, the awesome use of colours and the interesting way that dialogue is realistic/unrealistic in various places. Whatever. I don't care how well made this film is, and I will admit that; it was well made or I wouldn't have bothered to sit through the first 30 minutes. Lynch might be a great director but he's a pointless story teller. He has nothing to say in this film. What is his idea for this narrative? "There's this crazy lady... 'Kay, and, she's crazy so she kills her girlfriend. Then she kills herself. And there's titties." ...Please. Spare me the boredom. This movie should come with a warning label - Probable Waste of Time.
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Mastery in surrealism; one of, if not Lynch's' best film
Leray9729 June 2018
And here I thought Inception was the best dream related movie I've ever seen.. Mulholland Drive easily takes the cake given how the plot is structured. From a general standpoint, no other film has left such a lasting impact on me like Mulholland Drive; it's dreamlike story which also boasts some unique horror elements have not left my mind since I've watched it and probably won't ever do so, which I'm not entirely opposed to.

Lynchian visuals are always going to be one of the highlights of any Lynch film. In this case, the way light bounces off figures in certain long takes/sequences along with the ambient music masterfully composed by Angelo Badalamenti created a very dreamlike atmosphere. Almost whimsical in a way, but definitely foreboding in other aspects. Speaking of dreams, its just so impressive how David Lynch is able to completely blur the line between dreams and reality in this movie. For a fair portion of the film we're given fragments of a story then led to believe and care for it up until we as the audience are taken by surprise and given another narrative. The specific plot elements Lynch chooses to flip are so unexpected and thus more appreciated as well. However much we accept or reject the "new" reality is ultimately up to us but in the end, Lynch's message is a bit more clear. A film director who has a very specific idea for a story and sticks to it all the way through is deserving of all the praise they can get, especially when done in a successful fashion such as Mulholland Drive.

The two biggest schools of thought about films are that they should either be politically and/or socially significant in its portrayal of certain relevant ideas or that films should depict a "magical" world that the viewer can immerse themselves into for a while and think on the experience afterwards. I didn't watch Mulholland Drive much more than I felt it. It's hard to contextualize my ideas because not only do I have almost no idea about what I'm saying, Lynch seems to favor the style of film making that's aimed towards making the audience feel things upon losing themselves in Lynch's world. From him using cinema to dig into the audience's psyche, I'm not surprised that some people can dislike this movie just as others, myself included, will absolutely love it and the idea of it.
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imew11 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A film so polarized, that "The New York Observer" labeled Mulholland Drive as a "moronic and incoherent piece of garbage", while BBC noted it as the greatest film of the 21st century (so far). Even though I agree with the latter, I can understand the dislikes.

David Lynch completely transformed a seemingly clichéd story about an aspiring, perky actress who seeks fame in Hollywood to a horrifying surrealistic roller coaster that never ends. This transformation was so subtle that it kept viewers engaged throughout, emotionally contained, yet sporadic simultaneously. Angelo Badalamenti's beautifully unsettling score, a combination of minors and dissonance that represent the devastating collapse of Betty Elms, does well emphasizing Lynch's signature dark tone in such a psychedelic manner that viewers are able to relate to Betty's catastrophic hallucinations.

Was the first two-thirds of the film a dream? Betty Elms and Diane Selwyn were the same people? While there are countless other interpretations of the film, I, like most of the critics and audience, subscribe to the explanation above. The pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together so unbelievably well that it must have been Lynch's vision. To confront the fact that Diane was a sexually frustrated failed actress, she envisaged her own perfect life. For example, during my favorite scene of the film, Betty auditions in front of a crowded small room, where everyone praises her abilities. Except for Bob Brooker, the same director who didn't award Diane Selwyn the lead part in "The Sylvia North Story". Yet in this version of the events, Brooker is portrayed as incompetent, and easily deducted as disrespected by the side glances he receives from his peers. From this, we can determine that Diane blames the incapable director as her reason for not obtaining the part for "The Sylvia North Story". Sensible. Furthermore, Betty imagines the hit-man as extraordinarily incompetent during the murder scene, clumsily setting off the fire alarm, and killing two more people than he was supposed to. This amateurish hit-man could be a reasonable justification for the option that Camilla was not killed in reality.

Then the backbone of this film could be centered around the idea, "We believe what we want to believe." Yet there are multiple other persuasive interpretations of the film that cannot be dismissed, such as the Mobius strip theory, parallel universes, and that the whole film is a dream. Even after 16 years of extensive research and analysis, audiences and critics still can't seem to agree on one interpretation that is more convincing than the next.

And don't even get me started on Naomi Watts' breathtaking lead performance. From the lesbian sex scenes with Laura Harring to the heart-stopping audition scene, Naomi Watts has displayed an incredible range of emotions and acting capabilities. After watching such a masterpiece, I highly doubt one will argue that cinema isn't art. Because even if you didn't enjoy it, even if you still don't understand it, you can't deny the fact that "Mulholland Drive" is one of the most astonishing and bold films of all time. Thank you, David Lynch.

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Mulholland Drive? That's where I was going!
zolaaar29 April 2005
The case history of 'Mulholland Dr.' is known: What should had been another excursion (after 'Twin Peaks') into the rivaled field of TV-series ended up abruptly after completing the pilot. It was too risky and twisted for the producers to venture an investment. Lynch used all the filmed and cut material and started new shootings to finish a completely new feature film. The result: One of the most impressive cinema experiences of this decade which can be ranked among the best works of David Lynch. His earlier movies 'Eraserhead', 'Blue Velvet' or 'Wild at Heart' kept aloof in an irritating way which hustled the viewer into the role of a voyeur, but never involved him as part of the plot happening such as here.

'Mulholland Dr.' is a puzzle where pieces are missing, others obviously were taken from 'Eraserhead' and 'Lost Highway', but it never seemed to be unfinished work. In the internet I came across with a lot of instructions and essays to explain this film. I am aware now that it loses its magic when you try to decipher it completely. All those detailed solution explanations are not only waste but also the questionable attempt to offer an answer where no such thing is completely required. Imagine this scenario: A little child is dissecting his teddy bear to find out where the secret and the specific of that bear lies. Is it because it wants to destroy his toy? Does the secret lie in the teddy bear or actually in the heart of the child? Transferring this to 'Mulholland Dr.' it means innocence is one of the most important conditions to watch and appreciate it.

David Lynch succeeds not only to picture the surface of human behavior life but also to grapple with everything beneath that. Human desires, dreams, obsessions and fears - all that what remains unspoken; emotions that are often repressed. 'Mulholland Dr.' has the intensity calling for a cast that completely takes issue with the substance. Actresses and actors who are ready to follow the visions of the director selflessly.Laura Elena Harring, Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux solve their task in such an impressing way that you wouldn't want or couldn't imagine another cast. While their acting at the beginning seems to be a little superimposed you soon will realize that this stereo typing is set in with a purpose to manipulate the viewer and to baffle him as soon as the red thread of the film is visible.

When you claim the criterion of a well made film in being able to lose yourself and dive into what you see on screen than Lynch succeeded in making a masterpiece. A modern masterpiece that manifest David Lynch's status as one of the most important, creative and courageous directors of the present. Like every film maker who go beyond the limits he is confronted with criticism and ignorance. This will fade as soon as you find the individual key to Lynch's world of films. 'Mulholland Dr.' is more than just a sleeper – it is a must see for everyone who loves ambitious cinema. And besides, the film is a pay-off with Hollywood, in form and content, which in that distinctness was hardly dared before.
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The Ultimate Rubik's Cube.
tfrizzell26 March 2002
"Mulholland Dr." is something else. It is a film that will make you question your own sanity in many ways. Naomi Watts is the young, starry-eyed Canadian that wants to make it big in Hollywood. She is naive and thinks that dreams can come true if you want them bad enough. Watts discovers a very beautiful woman with amnesia (Laura Harring in a sizzling performance) in her aunt's house in L.A. and she becomes determined to help Harring out. Harring is mysterious and her near-fatal car crash occurred on the dark and winding Mulholland Dr. Throughout several oddball and very dark scenes take place. A young director (Justin Theroux) learns that Hollywood is run by strange underworld figures that are quiet, but ruthless. Another strange side-story is the mysterious man behind the diner that is seen in another character's dreams. An inept assassin also runs around causing unwanted trouble for himself and others. Then of course there are cameos by Robert Forster and Billy Ray Cyrus. The film twists into darkness as it progresses as Watts' and Harring's relationship turns sexual. A fine line between reality and fantasy is skewered and it comes down to a strange Pandora's box that holds the true secrets to "Mulholland Dr.". Oscar-nominated director David Lynch also shows that not all you see and hear is real, even though one's mind might think so. The film seems artificial at times, showing Hollywood as a nice place where dreams can come true. But then the dreams are turned into vivid nightmares of what could possibly be the true reality. David Lynch somehow makes this whole thing work and he makes it work beautifully in this reviewer's opinion. The film is a trumped-up version of "The Twilight Zone" and it adds many techniques that made Alfred Hitchcock the true master of suspense. Many wonder what this film is truly about. I am not sure. I am not sure Lynch even knows, but I am going to give it a shot. "Mulholland Dr." is the dark side of the human condition. It is a film that shows how easy one can lose one's soul if bad elements are let in. There are figures that seem somewhat supernatural to me in this movie. It seems that many of the characters are "messengers" that are all after one thing: Naomi Watts' soul. Watts lets the elements in and in the end she cannot overcome them. What she thinks she wants seems attractive on the outside, but there are cobras on the inside that will be too strong to fight off. In short, "Mulholland Dr." is a brilliant piece of film-making and it is brilliant due to its unique aspects and the fact that it is what one thinks it is. There is no right or wrong answer and it is a film that makes you think. "Mulholland Dr." is a complicated puzzle for the minds of cinema fanatics. 5 stars out of 5.
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Inner insanity unfold
tasospoursanidis9 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This was the first movie that introduced me to David Lynch, while i didn't watch any trailer or search for further info about it, the description alone intrigued me instantly. At this point i gotta say that i also didn't have any idea about Lynch's unique style so i was going totally blind into this birth of fire. While you could say someone could start off with something more straightforward as in fact Blue Velvet, i came to realize that watching this movie without knowledge about anything gave me the best experience. From the first seconds the movie started you could feel that sense of mystery and dreamy vibe in it, or something doesn't seem to be what it appears to be, those little moments of awkward silence was one of my favorite elements. What Lynch managed to achieve in this movie was to express, explore and emerge some of the deepest inner feelings we all people have, i'd say that a lot of times i saw myself and some of the feelings i had in this film. Interpretations can be many, but the ultimate meaning is there for me. The movie defines vanity, lack of self awareness, conceit, and how inexorably the bubble of impressions you have about yourself can explode and drive you off to insanity. Everything crashes and you hate the people you love, you feel so jealous about them that you can't stand the idea someone else has them so you want them dead, but at the same moment you're killing what you love. You find the slightlest and silliest excuses to justify your failure and lack of acknowledging that you're not the talent you think you are or that everyone adores you. So considering all that, you're falling into a dark trip of paranoia where your subconscious world can unravel terryfing thoughts and images, ultimately when Diane's dream world crushes and comes back to reality understanding that she's a monster and a spoiled bad person, she kills herself. That's what Mulholland Drive is for me, the expression of very deep feelings and thoughts.

My favourite scene is absolutely the dinner table scene where Camilla and Adam announce their wedding, brilliant acting by Naomi Watts, one of the best i ever saw in expressing emotion. Characteristically, it was also very intense for her cause when the scene finishes she goes off and hugs Laura Harring. That was the vital scene for me, where all kinds of emotions emerged. Last but not least, the making scene between Naomi Watts and Laura Harring was one of the sexiest and most emotional things i saw and also a big contrast. Passion and expression of love from Betty, discovery and cold reactions from Rita.

Sorry if i wrote too many, words about this movie can never end. This is Mulholland drive, it's an absolute masterpiece. It's not for the mass, it's not for surficious and shallowing people, but only for those who can feel it in their soul and live it subconsciously and consciously.

All time favorite, i salute Mr David Lynch.
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Beware what you dream for... Silencio...
asifahsankhan2 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
David Lynch (One of my personal favourite directors) is a true indie film maker. He makes his movies his way and never seems too concerned with whether or not they're accessible or will find an audience. But every few years, one breaks through and goes beyond his own cult audience, hitting hard with mainstream success. Movies like Blue Velvet (1986 movie) and Lost Highway (1997 movie) will pop up, and remind regular movies goers that the dude who made Twin Peaks (TV series) is still around. The last movie of his that I remember breaking through big, was Mulholland Drive the 2001 movie.

Lynch's themes are wild and unconventional: dreams materialised; crazy thought bubbles brought to life. Whereas Orson Welles' great film begins with a brief moment of surrealism – involving a snow globe and the cryptic word "Rosebud" – but then proceeds in a more straight-forward manner, Lynch maintains the surreal atmosphere throughout. In this sense Mulholland Drive picks up where Citizen Kane left off.

Its dream-like qualities give rise to many confusing and unexplained things that naturally encourage interpretation. But as critic Roger Ebert, one of the film's greatest champions noted: "There is no explanation. There may not even be a mystery."

The best explanation is a long one which would suggest the old couple are judges of the jitterbug contest that Betty won and then at the end, signs of her innocent past come back to terrorise her. It answers some of the smaller puzzles, too, such as: who is Jennifer Syme, the woman the film is dedicated to? (An actress who appeared in Lost Highway, who died in a car accident.) The movie is hypnotic; we're drawn along as if one thing leads to another but nothing leads anywhere, and that's even before the characters start to fracture and recombine like flesh caught in a kaleidoscope. Mulholland Drive isn't like Memento, where if you watch closely enough you can hope to explain the mystery. There is no explanation. There may not even be a mystery.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that David Lynch's mind-bending mystery-drama Mulholland Drive has been named by BBC Culture's critics' poll as the best film of the century so far. Its very roots lie in television: the film began as a failed TV pilot and was salvaged into feature-length format.

If you've seen David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, chances are you've been arguing about it ever since. How is Diane, the failed actor, related to Betty, the fresh-faced wannabe? Was the end really the beginning? What was the significance of the creepy nightclub Silencio, and what was in that mysterious blue box? Who were the laughing elderly couple, and what did the cowboy have to do with anything? Is there a deeper meaning – or is it a mistake to try too hard to decipher anything that David Lynch does?

'Mulholland Drive,' is such a film which even its most ardent fans admit is as maddeningly baffling as it is mesmerising, despite being named the greatest film of the 21st century by BBC, just to let you guys know: that it took me 4 months to figure out the plot.

Sorry for the spoiler. It's also a reason why it's one of the 'Weirdest films of all time!'

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brentmeister2k30 January 2006
Was disappointed by this film.

It seemed to me that the director or writer, whoever is just trying to be clever.

All they want is for everybody to watch and not have a clue, then what! We're supposed to applaud his genius when we find out what was going on.

I bet Mr Lynch is one of them people that always thinks they're better and smarter and know more than you. And most of the people that like this film will be like that as well because they think they are so smart for understanding it.

I've seen it and read theories, and I think it's all a load of rubbish, it's never clear at any point in the film what is actually going on, and that to me is not a good film. How can it be a good film if you have to make up half the story yourself to figure out whats going on.

And how is it the top 250, I can only assume these are those arrogant people that think they are so brilliant and that because they got the film then it is brilliant. When in fact Mr Lynch could just as well take any random series of events and call it a film.
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Another Strange-But-Fascinating Film From That Strange Director
ccthemovieman-127 October 2006
Wow, what a strange film. It's a David Lynch movie so it's no surprise that it is weird.

I defy anyone to totally explain everything in this film. I can't be done. After some research following my second viewing of this film, I pretty much know most of the story but on a first look, and with no aid from other reviewers or outside help, it is hard to figure things out. So, if you're in that boat and was confused, don't feel bad; that's normal. Let me just say the key to the film is Naomi Watts' character.

At any rate, I find the film fascinating. I love the wonderful visuals and rich colors and find each character in this movie really different and fun to watch. The camera-work is excellent and the music is creepy, a la Lynch's "Blue Velvet." There also are some good sound effects to help some of the dramatic scenes. In all, it's very well scored.

Like Lynch's "Twin Peaks" television series, this was a film in which the end was pieced together afterward since Lynch thought this film was going to be a long, drawn-out TV series. When that didn't happen, he pieced at the last minute this ending. That may account for some of the confusion at the end and the lack of explanations concerning characters we see earlier in the film but who mysteriously disappear.

The theme of the story, supposedly, is a negative comment about Hollywood and what it does to people, especially those whose dreams of being an actor are crushed.

Both Watts and the other leading lady, Laura Eleana Harring, are very interesting to watch, especially in their celebrated lesbian sex scene. Looks- wise, both women were chameleons, looking average at times, stunning at other times.

I enjoyed this movie more on the second viewing than the first. It's not just a curiosity piece; it's a very intriguing movie.....just don't feel stupid if you can't make sense of a few things.
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"I had a dream about this place."
gigan-923 December 2011
Mulholland Drive ( David Lynch, 2001), one of the most ambiguous films to be unleashed upon contemporary audiences, dare one say "abstract" even. In an era where simplicity is preferred over mystery and intrigue, the average audience member may find such a film angering in all respects. It resembles the classic noir genre, in so much that the infamous street Sunset Boulevard even appears in the movie as an ominous homage to the Billy Wilder film of the same name. Like that 1950 film, this movie's themes and tone is dark, but nowhere near as formulaic, per say. Classic film noir still relied on a certain pattern of events and character niches; the femme fatale, the unsuspecting victim most often our male protagonist and of course the incorruptible detective figure. This narrative method follows the invisible style, making it generally easy to understand. Mulholland Drive breaks many of these rules without a second glance, clarity being at the very bottom of its intentions if at all. Director David Lynch sets this in motion in a number of ways.

The music by Angelo Badalamenti electronic yet menacing, and creates a mood of a near horror-film like aura.

One of the most startling traits of Mulholland Drive is its complete disregard for the traditional Hollywood narrative style. Clarity, it ignores in throughout the movie, as new characters and plot lines are constantly introduced, some not followed up on till much later. The unity is leaves one even more bewilderment. Over an hour into the movie one still has no real idea how all these characters are connected, and certain events and objects even mean. The characters themselves are left to the willful imagination of the audience, as the story progresses it giving off the feeling of a mystery combined with pressing psychological puzzles. The goals of the many characters are very obscure, and the threatening world around them is even more mysterious. As for the style of the story telling, many of the house hold techniques are used: such as the foreshadowing when the ominous stranger, Louise Bonner, warns Naomi Watts of impending "danger". Closure is practically rhetorical in the film and in the same sense as Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001) most is left to the viewers to discern.

In the same fashion as Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950), one of the focal points of the film appears to be the decadence of Hollywood. The overhead shots of the city are accompanied by surreal, nightmare like music. The top brass of the industry appear inhuman, pompous and over all intimidating. Note the low angle shot of the apparent executive Mr. Roque. We rarely seem, and when we do no other figure is allowed to be in his presence apparently. The portrayal of Hollywood has many homages to the way it was portrayed by Wilder; with the apartments being dirty looking with their drab browns and dirty to look everything. In the daylight scenes, where it can be hard to use low-key lighting without delving into the extreme-gloomy Tim Burton trademark, the cinematographer Peter Deming uses this filthy look to the setting to establish the dark mood. Another particularly hard-hitting aspect would be the loss of innocence. As Naomi Watts rehearses her role with "Rita" (Laura Harring), she delivers the dialogue in an overly-loud cliché manner, but in the rehearsal with the studio heads, she becomes a whole another person it seems. The medium shot of the first rehearsal is replaced in the second one with a sensuous medium close-up, and the excellence of her acting there is fueled by pure unrestrained sexuality. Compared to her naïve depiction up until this scene, one would struggle to connect the two scenes.

This is just a small taste of the complex mystery world Lynch sets up in his cryptic film. Lighting, setting and the way the characters act still are saying something, but the way the plot moves makes it a struggling endeavor to understand. In all its zaniness, one important theme to grasp is the freedom of artistic tactics in film making. From the dawn of Hollywood to this day the general consensus is that everything must be immediately understandable with only one possible interpretation. There is no such rule because the clarity of the movie is unrelated to the art of it. The way the film is edited, credit to Mary Sweeney, plays an undeniable role in the film's perplexing beauty and terror to an extent.
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This film is NOT like a dream...
The_Plague29 July 2002
... because dreams are filled up with symbols which uncertainly indicate desires and anguishes, and it's contexts aren't clear, nor linear. This movie is actually based on a straight-forward, symbolism-free story that tricks you with the idea it's a dream by adding mysterious characters doing things you can only guess how and why, but indepedently of their reasons you can clearly understand their intentions, and by adding multi-explainable plot twists that all in all lead to nowhere.

So it's basically a film that acts like mindless suspense and soap opera at times. MY OPINION ABOUT THAT: I hate both genres, and find the represented situations in this turd unoriginal and uninteresting, so watching it soon got boring. Since it lasted two and half hours, it was quite a pain. Nevertheless I enjoyed the sex scenes.

It can be enjoyed by people who like the genres I listed above plus mindless guessing on what's happening. The photography and direction are great, the plot is awful and the "Dream-like movie" idea behind it turns out a total disaster, just like the overall quality of this one. I give it 2/10.
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Chrysanthepop30 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
'Mulholland Drive' resembles a detailed painting, one that is better understood with repeated viewing as more details are discovered. Though the story's straightforward, it unfolds its layers with each viewing. It resembles a beautiful dream/nightmare. The varied camera-work, the haunting score, the effective lighting and use of colour, the amazing art direction and special effects are all part of the stylish execution. The acting is overall excellent. Naomi Watts completely nails her part with a nuanced performance of a tormented character. Laura Elena Harring is sensational as the sensual Camilla. Justin Theroux and Ann Miller are superb in their strong parts.

The story's not told in the conventional fashion. It starts off with a dream sequence (that comprises the entire first half). Every single character is relevant. Lynch leaves subtle hints for the viewer to put together. The dialogues set the tone (humorous or intense or horrifying) and add to the characters.

The film starts off with a 60's dancing competition where a happy Diane and an elderly couple (her parents) are present. Later we are told that she won at a jitterbug competition before moving to L.A. This sequence is followed by a red bedcover and a red pillow. The camera zooms in on the pillow until it's black (marking the beginning of Diane's dream. The flashy words 'Mulholland Drive' appear on a signboard.

This is what really happens: Diane Selwyn, an aspiring actress, moves to L.A. with the hope of getting recognized as 'a good actress and a star'. She fails to succeed and struggles with her career. At an audition she meets Camilla (Harring). They hit it off and through Camilla's help, Diane gets bit roles in her films. Selwyn falls in love with her. But, Diane isn't the only person in Camilla's life. There's also another woman and a man (a director). Diane is shattered when the director announces his engagement with Camilla. She hires a hit-man to kill Camilla but is tormented by guilt thereafter and loses herself in a dream where she sees a better version of things. But, even in this state she's reminded of her real self and it becomes purgatory. She ends up killing herself.

The dream-sequence: Diane sees herself as Betty (the name was actually of a waitress she met at Winkies. She sees this waitress again in the dream but this time her name is Diane-a reminder of her real self). Here, Diane's a different person in contrast to her real self. Betty's more naive, vivacious, kind and successful. Her first audition is perfect. Not only will she win the part (as she's praised by everyone) but she is recommended to bigger producers. Yet, she's loyal to Camilla (as she rushes back home to help her).

The car accident's Diane's wishful thinking that the hit didn't go through and Camilla lives but loses her memory as a result of which she becomes dependent on her and develops a new identity (a new desirable version of Camilla). Diane sees Camilla as her doll (Lynch's own reference). Camilla assumes the name of Rita (Rita Hayworth is the star Diane aspired to be like). Then there's Betty's Aunt's home. Wishful thinking perhaps that if Diane had a relative from the film fraternity, who helped her out and recommended her to directors, her career would have flourished? This fantasy home's a 'safe' haven for her and Camilla. This Aunt may have actually existed and Diane's real house belonged to her. Camilla finds money, the same money Diane paid the hit-man, in her purse. The money is returned to her as the hit's unsuccessful. The Winkies scene where a guy talks about his recurring nightmare of a scary-looking man outside Winkies, the man represents Diane's dark side.

The director is quite a mess in Diane's dream (her way of punishing him). In the audition scene he stares at Diane. She is the object of his attraction (in reality he's smitten about Camilla and ignores Diane). Coco remains a strong figure. In reality, she looks down at Diane but in the dream, she's polite though she expresses her disapproval of Camilla (when in reality she disapproves Diane). The hit-man is sloppy (another part of Diane's wishful thinking?). The mysterious guy in the wheelchair takes control of the events in Diane's dream. The old couple could be Diane's parents and she probably had a terrible, maybe abusive, relationship with them as they torment her in the end scene. The fantasy couple are supportive strangers but once they get in the car their evil grin hints Diane's nightmarish purgatory. The cowboy's a clever touch by Lynch. He tells the director that if he does good, he'll appear once but if he does bad, he'll appear twice. Diane sees him twice because he was in the party (another reminder). The corpse in the house is Diane. The word 'Silencio' is repeated by Rita when she's at a state between wakefulness and sleep. The theatre play represents the nearing end of Diane's restless sleep. Betty's trembling signifies that she's about to wake up.

The key and the blue box brings us to the reality in the movie. This box is held by the scary-man at the end. It may represent Camilla's protected life and her life is gone once it's unlocked. A more obvious symbolism's Pandora's box. It may represent Diane's purgatory. It could refer to the black box theory which states that the mind's fully understood once all's defined (except that this dark blue box suggests that not everything is clearly defined).

I had a very different interpretation (which I won't mention) of this movie after first viewing (5 years ago). I revisited it yesterday, as I bought the special edition DVD and my first interpretation changed because the clues made better sense with this version. Perhaps, this too will change after subsequent viewing even though I'm quite satisfied with it now. What a movie, eh!
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Mulholland Drive - Lynch's cinematic art - reality vs. fantasy
drarthurwells5 April 2013
Lynch loves to realistically portray logical sequences interspersed by fantasy diversions, which entrances but confuses the viewer. Blue Velvet is his best film, and works well because of its overall logical coherency spiced up by fantastic deviations from the norm (the fantasy element of the film). This technique reminds me of Fellini's 8 1/2, where fantasy was often interspersed with a logical and coherent plot.

Mulholland Drive starts off logically but then gradually abandons logical coherence as dream-like (but realistically presented) sequences are brought into the plot. Then there is a shift in the plot, from the fantasy of the first part, to the reality of the second part where roles and identities are reversed and reality reigns.

Lynch's genius is in his artistic slight of hand where he presents a fantasy scene realistically, sucking the viewer in to expecting a meaningful depiction, then upending these expectations in shocking the viewer with the fantastic elements of the scene. I can imagine Lynch laughing in the background as he plays his joke on the viewer.

The film Holy Motors presents pure fantasy in nonsensical and unrelated sequences, and is bad art. Mulholland Drive has enough organization and structure, with more skillfully accomplished fantasy, to qualify it as good art.

Naomi Watts gives us an outstanding performance - better than the typical "Best Actress" Oscar award winner's performance in the last 20 years. Watts usually gets roles that don't allow her to display her considerable acting skills, but this role does, and she more than meets the challenge.

The plot is secondary for Lynch since cinematic art is his focus. However, the movie is totally baffling unless you have some guidelines. Basically Mulholland drive is the story of a young girl who comes to Hollywood with high hopes of becoming an actress. The film is told in two parts. My interpretation is that the first (Watts as Betty) part is psychotic delusions of the young girl as she reconstructs her past leading up to the promise of a brilliant acting career. This is presented as reality and the viewer has no idea it is false. The shift to the second (Watts as Diane) part shows some shifting of roles, and depicts the true story whereby the young girl fails to become an major actress. Her identity is valid, as Diane, in the second part showing her dismal failure, while Rita of the first delusional part becomes Camilla in the second reality part.

Naomi Watts thus plays two roles with different identities, in part one and in part two. The two parts are cued by the change in her name from the delusional Betty (part I) to the real Diane (part II). In a clever signal of this personality change, the waitress at Winkie's is named Diane when Betty and Rita go to eat there in the first fantasy part, while this same waitress becomes Betty when Watts as Diane goes to Winkie's in the real second part.

The plot shift from fantasy to reality mirrors the high hopes and aspirations as fantasy (Part I as Betty) and dismal failure as reality (Part II as Diane), that happens so often as young would-be performers seek fame in Hollywood but end up as failures.
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It isn't that hard to get it like they all say!
rafaelacavlina18 June 2018
To be honest, I was sceptic about seeing this movie since I've heard that so many people hadn't understood it at all. But I gave it a shot. I must say some parts of the movie are really disturbing (I am not really into scary movies or scenes). However, I've seen the movie only once but I can say that I understood it pretty well. Of course there were couple of minor questions but I got the picture of what it was. And this is my first Lynch movie ever.
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Bad be warned
Latsnys21 August 2007
This movie is awful. This is why critics aren't worth anything. This is the type of movie that people pretend to like and describe as "intellectually stimulating" in order to justify the critics. In fact I created my account just to comment on how bad the movie was and to warn people to stay away from this movie. Plot is terrible and pointless. It's incoherent from the start which adds to either the "mystery" if you're a critic or plain foolishness if you're a normal person. The movie really is all over the place and ends on an even more curious note. And like I said the ending isn't truly one of those that makes people think rather people end up scratching their heads and wondering why they wasted 2 hours on the movie and also how it's rated so high on this database.
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Lynch's key film
howie7315 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
With an opening segment that imitates the music and cinematography of Todd Haynes's Safe (1995), David Lynch uses dream, myth and warped notions of reality to tell the fractured story of a failed bit-part Hollywood actress/waitress, Diane Selwyn, let down by fame and her own demons and obsessed with Camilla Rhodes, who is engaged to hotshot director Adam Kesher.

The film effectively takes place in Diane's drug-fueled head; we are witness to her crazy distortions, her wish-fulfillments, regrets, obsessions and fears. Using the dream narrative as a way of presenting two notions of reality in conflict, Lynch does not simplify the opposition between reality and fantasy but actively entangles them. The last 45 minutes are as dream-like as what came before; and the troublesome air of detached, otherworldly ambiguity still pervades, fracturing the seemingly secure distinction between reality and dream we expect to see in films about nightmares and dreams.

Lynch's film borrows from many films, old and new, but ultimately is a film unlike any other with the exception of the director's own Lost Highway and Blue Velvet. It constantly challenges the viewer to interpret what is seen, not only intuitively but intellectually. Yet it is not as pretentious as one would have imagined because Lynch makes us sympathize with the protagonist despite her murderous deeds - an element that was missing in all of his other films except the Straight Story. He does this by presenting Diane's dream alter-ego, Betty, as a wholesome Canadian farm girl destined for fame. Lynch also presents us with an intriguing story that affirms and negates in equal measure. Are Camilla and Diane really lovers or just friends? Who is the blue-lady? What does she signify? Who is the bum behind Winkies? What is the significance of the rotting corpse at Sierra Bonita? Does Aunt Ruth really exist? Is silencio an abstraction of hell or perhaps a self-referential take on the film's status as fiction? Lynch isn't prepared to answer any question he poses, choosing instead to present his "love story in the city of dreams" as a set of interconnected abstractions and motifs.

The acting is top rate, especially Naomi Watts as Diane Selwyn/Betty, who is yet to eclipse this performance. Laura Harring has the requisite Hayworthesque allure as Camilla/Rita, while Adam Theroux as Adam brings an freewheeling arrogance and sublimated paranoid aggression to his role. It was staggering and a grave injustice that not one of them was even nominated for an Academy Award.

This is a film that demands to be seen and analyzed closely. The mystery at the heart of the film remains in Lynch's hands but half the fun is finding consistent ideas from the maze of seeming incongruities that he presents. Upon closer inspection there is a definite sense of a puzzle, perhaps an incomplete jigsaw that teases us with closure but denies the imaginary plenitude of narrative coherence. Ultimately, this is Lynch's key film.
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A deep dive into a dream world - David Lynch at his very best
Artimidor24 December 2011
Hollywood, the city where dreams come true. Yet the realities of the dream world have the tendency to eventually turn into a nightmare, a nightmare which is too real to be lived in... Welcome to a David Lynch picture, where nothing is as it seems, and Lynchian logic reigns to leave you befuddled, mystified, mouth agape when the curtain falls and silence spreads. Mulholland Drive is a movie which engulfs the viewer in its intricate mystery plot like no other and leaves you with a load of memorable, haunting or outright shocking images you will never forget. You might be caught off guard by the true nature of the underlying mystery, and the denouement will keep you mesmerized for sure, making a re-watch essential, yet rewarding experience. As often with an eccentric filmmaker's work, this is a movie to only get going in your head once it's already over, and if you're willing to get immersed in it.

Lynch's masterpiece invites to dig deeper, to uncover new layers, hidden references, multiple interpretations. The film is as psychologically profound as it is visually stunning and while it draws its fascination from what appears surreal at first glance, it is nevertheless firmly embedded in a reality that won't let us go, blood-curdling as it might turn out, a reality full of hopes, dreams, obsessions, fear, you name it. "Mulholland Drive" is packed with great imagery, dark humor, wonderful music and bizarre twists and turns and stars Naomi Watts in her most brilliant role. It's a blessing indeed that Mulholland Dr. as a TV series as Lynch original envisioned and pitched it, didn't happen and he had to rethink his ideas for a year - because that was when lightning struck. Pure movie magic. This one's a keeper.
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