This movie is often cited by critics as the best so far this century and its hard to find that a contentious opinion. Mulholland Dr is a movie I have to revisit every so often so as I feel aligned with it, because after a hiatus I lose track of what it was all about and I don’t like that feeling. Even now as I write this I realise I need to see it again and ‘pronto‘!
After my first viewing I wasn’t overly impressed with Lynch’s usual Macabre storytelling (a la Lost Highway) to f&/k your mind over, but Mulholland has something which lingers and feels ineffable in our lives. As a moviegoer Mulholland is like the antithesis of the aspirational 2016 release La La Land which also I’m a huge fan.
Like La La, Mulholland tells the story of an aspiring actress with high hopes arriving in Holywood. Mulholland not unkeeping with the Coen Brothers Barton Fink reality of Hollywood tells a very different story. Fame can become an illusion and in quest for that grandeur an individual can lose track of what they represent and who they are. An individual is malleable if left to the devices of big corporate and hell-bent on success.
Hollywood definitely isn’t all its made out to be and not only are we seeing that since the commencement of the Pandemic where moviemakers are leaving to make movies in other states and nations because of Californian Tax hikes, but even pre-COVID in light of the Weinstein saga and what it took to make a name. Mulholland like Barton dispels the myth that Hollywood seeks great art at its source. They exposed like no others what this industry is about and how the idealistic individual can become twisted and wrecked in its wake.
Still untarnished by the false promises of the rapacious film industry, the wide-eyed actress, Betty, sets foot on bustling, sun-kissed Hollywood. Brimming with hope, and eager to spread her wings and prove her worth, Betty moves in Aunt Ruth’s expensive apartment, unbeknownst to her, however, that fate has other plans in store for her, setting the stage for life-altering experiences with the unexpected, the indecipherable, and the unknown. Now, in the centre of an elaborate labyrinth of half-truths, faded memories, unrequited loves, and dangerous encounters with the city’s ugly face lies a strange key to a mysterious keyhole, an even stranger indigo-blue cube, the young director, Adam, and one cryptic woman: the amnesiac brunette and devilishly seductive car-crash survivor, Rita. But, time flies and Rita’s opaque past demands answers. After all, both women deserve the truth. What is the secret of the serpentine, dream-crushing Mulholland Drive?
David Lynch doesn’t like interpretations of his work. Just let the art be. I don’t think he even knows where he was going with this movie. Whether or not you are satisfied with a particular interpretation of the plot should be irrelevant to your enjoyment of the film. It’s a great film and one for the ages as far as surrealist neo-noir mystery films. His Blue Velvet is another stand-out in this genre. Mulholland Dr like a lot of Lynch’s films can be like a good wine – he must be savoured and mulled over.
Is it all a dream? The life we live as well?