Mulholland Drive
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring

Mulholland Drive is essential Lynch, containing all the familiar Lynch memes and themes from dwarves and out-of-focus close ups, to kitsch and incarnated evil.

Betty (Naomi Watts) is a wholesome. country girl who comes to Hollywood to start a career in the movies. Once in town she meets up with Rita (Laura Elena Harring), a dark, mysterious amnesiac who hides out from some killers in Betty's apartment. Betty, who embodies the 'I can' in American, sets about recovering Rita's identity and life. They slip into a lesbian relationship.

Then it is with a jolt that the viewer discovers that none of this may actually be happening at all and we set off on a journey to locate the reality of the movie, a task of piecing together clues that parallels Betty's on-screen search into Rita's past.

It is not an easy film: fantasy overlays reality; identity is conditional; the characters are powered by delusion: insight comes in a small blue box; and Satan is equated with self knowledge and lives among the rubbish bins behind Twinkie's diner.

The acting is of a standard that surpasses previous Lynch films. Naomi Watts is impressive as she slips seamlessly from one incarnation of herself in to the next. This reviewer was wondering at one point whether she was the same woman in the different roles. Justin Theroux who plays the film director Adam Kesher has more than a little of Joseph Fiennes about him, and is a name to watch out for in the future.

There is a solution to the labyrinthine plot, but getting there might drive a literalist to the funny farm. A great part of the challenge of watching Lynch is simply accepting.

Review by Chris Page

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