Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive ★★★★★

"It'll be just like in the movies. We'll pretend to be someone else."

What can really be said here? What can be said about this film that hasn't been repeated a billion times already on this site and elsewhere? I'm not sure, but I'm going to try my best to explain what this film means to me and the power that I feel it possesses.

Mulholland Drive, simply put, is unforgettable. There are occasionally times throughout the film where, as a viewer, the mesmerization temporarily breaks for me and I start to doubt the film's brilliance. As sublime as Mulholland Drive is, I wouldn't necessarily call it a "perfect" film. But by the time the credits roll, I'm forced to sit back in awe of what I have just witnessed and think to myself, "Movies will never be the same after this." It's hard not to get sucked in and wonder where the winding road of Mulholland Drive is taking you as you watch, and the beautiful part is that I don't think anyone truly knows. Those who analyze every inch of the film, or the ones who simply let the experience wash over them, the people who cover their eyes when things get too intense, or those who are so compelled by what is happening on-screen that they wouldn't be able to look away if they tried: none of them are any closer to the truth than the others. Not even David Lynch knows what the hell is going on in this movie. But that's okay. It's okay to not understand what you are feeling or exactly why. And that elusiveness is, to me, the ultimate power of Mulholland Drive.

So, to stop rambling for a moment and actually say what the film is about for anyone who doesn’t know, Mulholland Drive is basically a neo-noir, crime drama, thriller, mystery, horror movie with a pinch of dark comedy and filled to the brim with dreamy surrealism. Of course that sounds ridiculous on paper, but once you have seen the movie in full, perhaps you will better understand what I mean. This film conjures up every emotion imaginable in its viewers at some point or another, and it throws so many false set-ups and loose ends at you that you never really know how to feel about what's going on. So.... it pretty much sounds like a complete mess, right? Well, that's why Mulholland Drive is so singularly remarkable: it is a mess, but it also makes sense.

See most films adhere to a linear plot structure to push the narrative forward and keep up the film's momentum. The emotional side of most films comes from within this provided structure and what occurs throughout the run-time. The emotions that the viewer experiences are, as a result, often restricted to the bounds that the plot determines. Mulholland Drive on the other hand, functions with emotion being the force pushing things forward where the plot remains secondary. The result is a refreshing, one-of-a-kind experience where the viewer may be hopelessly confused as to what is happening, but is also entirely emotionally engaged. This makes the movie completely unpredictable and, as a result, utterly terrifying. This is a special form of cinematic expression.

Here is a movie which has one of the most satisfying as well as terrifying conclusions in all of cinema, and yet if you were to turn to the person next to you afterwards to try to explain it, you wouldn't be able to. But that's okay. It's okay to not be able to explain something in words, and that's exactly what David Lynch capitalizes on here. He explains things through emotions, through images and the feelings that they bring. Through the glorious score that sweeps you off your feet and leaves you breathless, through the strange and fantastic characters that Lynch paints on this warped, vivid canvas of his own creation. There is no band..... but that doesn't mean we don't hear it. And that's what the movies are. That's what Mulholland Drive is. An illusion, a shadow on the wall from the master of shadows. And by the end of the film, after we have been taken on the surreal journey of a lifetime, the world of Mulholland Drive fades back into the same shadows from where it first appeared, but its images still linger in our hearts and minds forever.


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