Friday, January 14, 2011

Mulholland Drive. A-

Once Mulholland Drive got going, I was reminded of Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd. Not only are the titles similar, but both stories are about big dreams gone bad in Hollywood, and both feature an unlikely visitor at a massive house who slowly becomes wrapped up in the life of an actress. The only difference is that the actress in Sunset Blvd was an aging former silent queen, while the one in Mulholland Drive is an aspiring movie star (but, as she says, she'd rather be an actress than a movie star, though some can be both). Also, the visitor in Sunset was a man, while the one here is a woman trying to find out who she is (a car accident has left her amnesic). I'm sure David Lynch was inspired by Sunset Blvd when he made this movie, evident by my observations and the fact that Billy Wilder is one of his favorite filmmakers. Still, this is a much darker movie than Wilder's masterpiece (though not to say the latter is a light picture) and it's drenched with David Lynch's nightmarish vision, a return to his usual form of sorts back in 2001 after his refreshingly different The Straight Story. You can sort of see that this movie is leading up to his proceeding film, Inland Empire (which, by the way, is my pick for the most boring movie ever made, in spite of it actually being all right), another film that seems to torture Hollywood idealists. But Mulholland Drive doesn't get into such extreme territory till the final third of the movie. For the most part it has a pretty straightforward narrative (at least by Lynch's standards). I've read that some people find the movie to be a cheat because it seems to forget the story it's telling by the end. But that's not the case at all. The ending was strange, but it all made perfect sense, especially for a movie labeled as a psychological thriller.

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