Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive ★★★★★

Seeing this on a big screen offers the chance to experience how each of the characters fills the added space, projecting their hilariously overdriven types. That broad optimism of Betty's arrival in L.A., Naomi Watts' luminous expression and the gee-whiz tenor of her voice. Billy Ray Cyrus as the platonic ideal of a dingy, cuckolding pool man. The movie executives as a swirl of mobster pushiness: a guy who demands and rejects espressos, a screaming enforcer, and the ringleader, a tiny head in a huge suit. Betty going in for a scene read for a glorified ego stroke and being paired with a handsy, much older actor. Mulholland Drive is the most legible of Lynch's surreal works, the film where nearly everything is, in the end, decoded, but seeing all of this blown up only brings further clarity to how deftly he unloads a century's worth of Hollywood self-portrait and then smears the paint.

It looks like the tide finally rolled back on miscategorizing Lynch as an aloof ironist, but even by the richly empathetic standards of his filmography he goes all in here. Just watch the care with which he observes Watts modulating Betty from her exaggerated introduction thru her display of chops in auditions to her agonized breakdown. Or how Rita seems to emerge from the same Gilda poster where she gets her name, only to transform several times. God I love this movie.

PS the Winkie's scene is absolutely unbearable on a big screen with good sound. Terrified out of my skull.

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