Mulholland Drive

Directed by David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Hedaya, Angelo Badalamenti.
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some strong sexuality.

Review by Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles <>
October 18, 2001

It is a sad thing when famous directors start directing films "in the style" of themselves. Mulholland Drive suffers from David Lynch trying too hard to be David Lynch. Much of it is just weird for the sake of weirdness and, worse than that, the weirdness that is justified is done so by a convention so crude, it negated a great deal of the film.

The film begins with two seemingly unrelated plots and a smattering of truly unrelated bits that I won't bother describing. Plot one: Beautiful woman is in a car crash, loses her memory and is taken in by pretty and na´ve girl newly arrived in Los Angeles. Plot two: Young hotshot movie director is pressured by two mobster-esque characters to recast the lead in his new movie. The movie plot is much more interesting than the beautiful woman plot, but it gets much less screen time. The conclusion of the film does not really tie up any loose ends as much as it sprinkles characters from the loose ends into the beautiful woman plot and then screams, SEE IT'S ALL RELATED, REALLY!

Fortunately the beautiful woman, played by former Miss USA Laura Elena Harring, really is beautiful. Harring is fascinating to look at both clothed and naked. She is also a good actress and plays confusion and fear exceptionally well. She is awfully reminiscent of Isabella Rosselini in Blue Velvet, but then again Naomi Watts as the na´ve good girl is quite reminiscent of Laura Dern in Blue Velvet, so it fits. Lynch has always filmed the best sex scenes and the ones between Watts and Harring are gorgeous and truly sexy.

Lynch does a good job with the humor in the movie plot as well. His signature super-close-ups and slow pacing work very well as the mobsters (Dan Hedaya and Angelo Badalamenti) confront director Adam Kesher, played with laid back brilliance by Justin Theroux. Hedaya and Badalamenti are really creepy and should be in the movie more, but like most of the interesting characters they are kept in the shadows.

Lynch is a good director. He continuously gets wonderful performances of a similar tone from a wide variety of actors. He handles the visuals beautifully. However the story line of Mulholland Drive just falls apart and Lynch never successfully puts it back together. Mulholland Drive ends up not as tense and suspenseful as Blue Velvet or as relentlessly creepy as Eraserhead and Wild at Heart, but merely frustrating and incoherent.

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Mulholland Drive (2001)

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