Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland-DrBetty Elms is a wide – eyed optimistic actress who arrives in Los Angeles looking for stardom on the big screen. She manages to stay at her famous actress aunt’s house and discovers a beautiful woman (The gorgeous Laura Elena Harring) who was in a car accident after an attempted murder. Together, the two will form a bond and attempt to unravel her identity, but… is everything in this tale as it seems, or is it simply a facade for the real story at hand? I must admit, upon first viewing I was ready to mercilessly bash this film left and right like a punching bag, but then I realized that this movie has not only left an impression on me but I’ve had so much fun trying to solve this confusing enigma of a tale that I’ve grown rather fond of it. I really like this film.

David Lynch is a skilled director with an eye for vision and texture. He knows what the story is about but he will never tell the audience because he doesn’t need to. Why? We’ll never know. This is described as a sort of tell all tale David Lynch uses to get off his chest, and it’s clearly evident that it is by the way the movie switches storytelling modes so sharply. He presents to use two worlds: one viewed in the minds eye of Naomi Watts’ character as a glittery gazey dream, and the other as a malicious, grimy, and wicked landscape. One is how Hollywood is perceived to many, and the other, apparently, is how David Lynch views this world, and it’s very blunt. He makes no effort in explaining this story and tells the tale he wants to, all the while giving clues here and there throughout the segments of the movie. Quickly, the movie changes modes, and quickly again, the story changes to an almost staggering phase that leaves you mystified. The play that Betty and Diane attend is a clue, I’ve learned.

The play is full of singing and dancing and glamour, then the lady drops to the ground, and we discover the music playing is canned. The man comes out and lets the nearly empty room know, “This is all a tape recording. It is an illusion.” A clue to the true meaning of the story? Perhaps. In his own ways Lynch is telling you his message, but still continues to shy away relentlessly. This and many other clues are spread, scattered and taken away throughout the movie. If this review seems like it’s nothing but a run-around, you’re correct, I’m not going to sit and pretend I know what this movie is about. I’ve read a six page analysis on this movie and I still don’t know what this is about and what David is trying to say to the audience but, I can assure you, he is giving you, the viewer his words but he’s merely hinting, not telling you straight out.

I’m on a mission, a mission to discover what this movie means. (Yes, I have that much free time) Why, you ask? I spent two and a half hours confident of what this story was about and David Lynch takes the story and completely turns it inside out once again leaving me clueless. To you, the reader, I ask, if you know what this movie means, if it means anything, tell me, because I won’t rest until I have even an inkling of what this movie is about. People are describing this as David’s most simple film to figure out, so I’m scared to see his other films. All that lies are simply speculation to the mystery that is “Mulholland Drive”. What is the deal with the blue key? Who is the creepy bum? What relevance does he have to the story? What is the deal with the shots of coffee? So, is Camilla evil, if so, did she purposely toy with Betty, and why? What does the cowboy have to do with the story? Who are Diane and Betty? Why, of all places does Rita seek refuge in Betty’s room? Who are the old people stalking Betty in the end? Why do they appear small?

What is the deal with the Spanish play? Why do they cry when the woman is singing? What relevance does the word “Silencio” have to the mystery? Is it all so simple yet I can’t see it? What year is it? Who am I? Oh, sorry, this movie left me so at a loss and staggered that I was asking those questions along with a big “Huh?” as well. This movie makes absolutely no sense, and if it does, then I haven’t found it. It seems David has experienced Hollywood more inside out than anyone can ever know, and it makes you wonder if there are other people, other actors and actresses that know of this inside world, yet never let on about it. It also makes you wonder if this image perceived by many as “Hollywood: the glamorous world” is merely just an illusion we, the public, have given birth to, and only the inside people would know. Maybe. David Lynch is a master, a pure master of enigmatic storytelling and creates labyrinths that change form within the film.

It’s theorized that the first two segments are simply dream sequences perceived by the obviously insane Diane that she conceives within her mind. She conceives the world she wanted to see in Hollywood, a world and life she wanted yet could never have. Then at the end, Rita is sucked into the blue box and we go back to the real world Diane lives in: the cruddy, cruel, harsh and sick world she now sees. What is the blue box? No one knows. No one. I suspect it may be a symbolic object linking both the fantasy and reality world in Diane’s mind. What the box is is still not definite. But I recur, this is simply a theory; a rather popular one at that, but just a theory. Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harris are incredible in this film, adding to the tension that this gives us. Naomi Watts is a gifted actress, shifting into different modes throughout the movie that leave you wondering if this is the same character we met in the beginning of the film; she’s also extremely beautiful.

Why Hollywood hasn’t given her more films is mind – boggling. Her character is a cheesy light hearted wannabe actress, and at the end of the film she’s a wretched beaten down failure. Laura Elena Harris is so hot and gorgeous it’s almost staggering to the point where you wonder if she’s a real figure of the story. She lights up the screen in every scene and is breathtaking… I think I’m in love. Anyways, these two actresses work well together, and I felt for the two almost instantly. Harris’ character also manages to change from a dependent vulnerable girl to a wicked malicious being. Unbelievable. When director’s get you to ponder this much and leave a lasting impression after you’ve seen a movie of theirs, they have to be doing something right. This is a confusing, senseless and pointless movie but, it is also entertaining and mind- boggling, and a lot of fun to solve. What does this movie mean? That’s open to interpretation, but we might never get a true explanation.