Mulholland Drive
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David Lynch has directed a wide variety of films from Eraserhead to Dune to Blue Velvet to Twin Peaks to The Straight Story.  From the first moments of his new film, when we see the sign for Mulholland Drive illuminated on a dark night and hear the first strains of the score by Angelo Badalamenti, you know that Lynch is in full Twin-Peaks mode here. The red curtains make an appearance as does the dwarf from Special Agent Dale Cooper's dream.  Except that Mulholland Drive is a Lynchian film noir.  It is Twin Peaks crossed with Sliding Doors crossed with L.A. Confidential.  As in Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive takes some stilted characters from a Norman Rockwell painting and plunges them into a surreal nightmare that no one can wake up from.  The main character is an attractive young woman (Naomi Watts) from a small town who literally gets off the bus in Hollywood looking to become an actress.  Her aunt is in the movie business and has arranged for her niece to stay at her apartment while she is off working.  I don't know if Lynch is making a statement about Canada's role in movie-making but Watts is supposed to be from Deep River, Ontario, and her aunt is off shooting a movie north of the border.  Unbeknownst to either of them, another young woman (Laura Harring) has taken refuge in the apartment after a harrowing car accident.  She has amnesia and soon Watts is helping Harring to find out who she really is.  The two women become quite close in a way that will appeal to the male members of the audience.  Meanwhile, other seemingly unrelated subplots pop up from time to time, eventually merging with the main plot in some bizarre way.  In particular, we meet a young movie director (Justin Theroux) with professional and personal problems.  For a while, Mulholland Drive seems like it will be a fairly straight film noir but a short scene in a diner where a man is recounting his nightmare which takes place in the same diner reminds us immediately who the director is and that this movie will concern the unvarnished Lynch psyche. The film becomes more and more nightmarish as time goes on, finally becoming  Lynch's version of Sliding Doors.  The first half of the film has Watts on the way up, full of hope and Harring on the way down, full of fear.  Suddenly, after the two women take a trip to a nightclub, the deck is reshuffled, and the characters and the story are completely changed around. Now Watts is down and out and Harring is having a happy life.  I won't say anymore other than I don't really get it.  The cast is quite good particularly Naomi Watts whom I have never seen before.  Theroux, recently seen having premature ejaculations on Sex and the City, is also good as the director. There are a lot of interesting cameo performances to watch out for.  Ann Miller, yes, `The' Ann Miller, who made her first movie in 1934, appears as Watts' Landlady.  Also, keep a  look out for Dan Hedaya, Robert Forster, Lee Grant and Chad Everett.  Oh man, but seeing Chad Everett (Medical Center) makes me feel old.  Mulholland Drive is an interesting film but like Twin Peaks, it doesn't make a lot of sense.  But that was half the fun of Twin Peaks.  This movie isn't fun but we need David Lynch, if only so we realize that there is still some creativity out there.