Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive ★★★½

Steeped in Hollywood and American mid-century iconography that collides provocatively with contemporary headtricks, David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" is a drama that wavers crazily from off-putting to mesmerizing. In bursts of cinematic and narrative energy that will lead to nothing less than tonal whiplash, the film is an intriguing piece of weird whose lack of answers both frustrates and titillates.

An ingenue comes to Hollywood. She meets a woman. They kiss. A woman in is a car wreck. She loses her memory. She kisses an ingenue. A director pieces together his latest opus. His strings are controlled by shady power players. He casts the woman and the ingenue. Something is behind the diner. The ingenue is broken. There is a woman in bed. Something is dead.

As a narrative, "Mulholland Drive" throws the above story pieces into the air and lets them fall where they may. It is a blend of satire and the strange. It is a thriller, a murder mystery, and a romance. It is an homage to Hitchcock and a love letter to long-dead Hollywood. It is Lynch.

Does it work, however? The film is widely adored, and it is easy to revel in the mystery of it all. The audacity of the story, and the sharpness of the production stand out. It is an evocative mix of narrative beat and handsome aesthetic. It revels in glances, visual suggestions, and unanswered questions. The film is striking.

Still, the film can not help but feel built upon gimmick after gimmick. The romance, the violence, and the bizarreness of it all are eye-catching and stirring. The elements scream for attention which they easily receive. The audience is used by them. The viewer is tricked into
believing they are more than simply hollow bursts of visual and emotional energy. Maybe that is the point. "Mulholland Drive" is about film after all.

Let "Mulholland Drive" have its fans. The film has received enough adoration that it can afford a notice that sees it for the naked emperor that it may be and an engaging but not-worth-the-trouble work that is unable to penetrate some viewers' cinematic sensibilities.

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