Assembled from the deleted and extended scenes of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and showing the untold portion of the FBI's investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks, as well as expanding on the last seven days of Laura Palmer's life, Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces becomes an integral part of the deeper mysteries surrounding the Twin Peaks series.Written by
the 'What Could've Been' edition of Fire Walk with Me - essential viewing
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me remains one of the major polarizing efforts that any American filmmaker has made in the past 30 years. That may sound like a bold statement, but for people who watched the television show Twin Peaks, whether it was during its initial run or years later (I was part or the latter), seeing how those two seasons came out - one very short at 8 episodes, another longer at 22) - and then going into the last gasp of TP for decades as Lynch's film (co- written by Peaks regular Robert Engels), was disappointing. It's not, as it stands today as a 134 minute film, a pleasant sit overall: it's weirder than the show, if you can believe that, more daring in its experimentations with light and sound and super- impositions and other parts of the grammar of cinema that Lynch has manipulated over time, and most of all it's darker and grimmer than the show. Or, that's not accurate entirely; what one should say really is that it lacks the *warmth* that the show had, the charm.
To be sure there are two different ways to look at it: Twin Peaks the show was about Laura Palmer post murder, and looked at the town as it had an innocence to it ("Not Laura Palmer, not *Her*, heavens!") and how, piece by piece and episode by episode, we got to see more of what was under the surface. This was not unlike in its way how Lynch operated in Blue Velvet, showing us what's under the hood of suburban society and out in the 'woods' of the surreal and dreamlike dimensions. By the last part of the 2nd season things were getting trippier and weirder and darker, but when a third season didn't happen (and when Kyle MacLaughlin, for the most part, wanted to move on to other things), to continue Lynch and his collaborators had to find another story to tell. Laura Paulmer's final seven days is less like the soap opera of the show and more of a Lifetime movie - the most dangerous, f***ed up Lifetime TV movie known to man/woman.
Which brings us to "The Missing Pieces", which is a treasure trove of deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me, or some extended bits, that give more than a simple 'what if' of what the movie could have been. It gives another cinematic experience for fans of Twin Peaks, to get more of the characters we love while also learning more about characters who, frankly, got the shaft in the feature. Philip Jeffries is one such guy (the now late David Bowie), and seeing his full scene, plus set up at a hotel, with the FBI agents suddenly makes his appearance less of the WTF walking-in-from-another-movie that happened in the original movie. People like Josie Packard, Bobby's parents, Andy and Lucy, Big Ed, Jack Nance, they get to be seen here, and it suddenly occurs to one watching this what might have been had Lynch simply gone back and done "Redux" version ala Coppola with Apocalypse Now.
Not every one of the newly found scenes is perfect, and some of the pacing may be off. I'd even say that one or two moments, like the extended bit showing the characters going from the one bar to the "Pink Room" club was more succinctly cut in the feature film. But a nagging issue that I'm sure those who may even like the film, that certain scenes feel shortened or lack context (yes, even for a nightmarish Lynch trip into teenage horror and incest), gets cleared up with scenes here, and other people like Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer) get fleshed out relationships (she even gets to *smile* who knew that was a thing!) So you can watch this separately, as its own sort of stream-of-consciousness 'film', or imagine it with the rest of the feature, and suddenly it becomes better, stronger, more humane. Or, if you already love FWWMe as it is, these extra scenes are the equivalent of extra whipped cream on your sundae of despair.
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