Every year has its sleeper hits, one of those movies that most people haven't heard of and most won't see, despite its numerous award nominations and rave reviews. Mulholland Drive is one of those, garnering several Golden Globe nominations, not to mention a few Oscar nods. But, does David Lynch's film live up to its hype?
Mulholland Drive is two and a half hours long, features several long sequences with not much dialogue, many more with somewhat glib and purposely strange dialogue, and several storylines that don't meet ends until the climax of the film. To say the least, Mulholland Drive is an odd movie, and that is to say the least, because this movie is probably the weirdest film I have ever seen.
Though Mulholland Drive is slow, it is never boring. It is compelling from beginning to end, because you immediately know that this is a film that isn't going to make much sense until the final minutes. There are four or five storylines going on at the same time, and you really can't see how they are going to connect to each other. A woman is almost murdered, but is "rescued" when a car basically slams into her. An aspiring actress (Naomi Watts, the main character) finds her suffering from amnesia and sets out to find her identity. A director finds his wife sleeping with another man and is struggling with the fact that his latest movie is being taken over by the studio. A man in a restaurant has a nightmare. Another man murders a guy and steals his address book. Yet, somehow, everything is going to be related... or is it?
Mulholland Drive has one of those endings that will frustrate people. It doesn't have a twist in the traditional sense, like The Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense, or even Fight Club. If you thought Fight Club's ending was weird, then be prepared. I still do not understand what the hell happened in this movie. I see elements of what Lynch is trying to get across, but Mulholland Drive easily has the most psychedelic ending to ever hit the big screen. The ending is something you can only partially guess - at most three percent or so. Yet, the nearer and nearer you get to the climax, you know that something really messed up is going to happen... and then yet again, you can't possibly be prepared for what is in store. Is the ending good? It's a matter of opinion. Mulholland Drive, a day later, is still keeping me thinking, trying to figure out exactly what happened, and I like that. This movie really made me think.
Is the movie as good as all those nominations and Top Ten Lists suggest? I don't think so. The movie is original, skillfully directed and edited, but at least some of its audience has to understand it. Mulholland Drive is compelling and intriguing, deep and seductive, yet its utterly confusing ending will leave audiences rabidly divided, some loving their thought processes at work, others looking for something more traditional, and almost all searching for just a little more clarification.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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