Dimitris Stathakios’s review published on Letterboxd:
My review of Mulholland Drive
Well, sometimes there are films that you have to be mature enough to watch. I saw Mulholland Drive back when I was 13 or 14 years old and it truly baffled me more than anything I had ever seen before, with me ultimately rejecting it back then.
Watching it today, Mulholland Drive seems the kind of a film that showcases the beauty and the brilliance of cinema as an art form.
Mulholland Drive is the ultimate mystery film, or rather the ultimate mystery of a film. It is told and made in a way, that it allows literally infinite interpretations.
Mulholland Drive is a David Lynch film and it has all the basic characteristics to be one. It cements the legacy of David Lynch as one of a master filmmaker with a unique vision. I used to falsely believe that most scenes in David Lynch films have no narrative purpose other than to satisfy Lynch himself. I also used to have a criminally wrong opinion, that Mulholland Drive is a non-sensical mess whose narrative serves no purpose. In reality, Mulholland Drive's narrative seems now to have been very carefully constructed to be indecipherable and to spark a whole lot of different feelings. The narrative absolutely works though, in a dreamy or nightmarish way. Every scene seemingly unconnected to the central narrative, feels like it is connected in a magical and dreamlike way. Mulholland Drive is a truly narratively ground-breaking film.
Mulholland Drive has undoubtedly profound subtext too. To quote a fellow cinephile, it is the most anti- Hollywood film that Hollywood loves. Betty has at first an ideal conception of Hollywood. She thinks that her being there is a dream , only to be later revealed as a nightmare. Hollywood is depicted by Lynch in a surrealist way as an evil place dominated by evil entities. With Mulholland Drive, Lynch also makes his statement against studios and producers interfering with artists' work and restricting their freedom.
To summarize, Mulholland Drive showcases David Lynch at his most brilliant and genius, and it also constitutes one of the supreme achievement of filmmaking in 21st century. Finally, I can understand and adore David Lynch's work.
My interpretation of Mulholland Drive's narrative.
I tried to make sense of the narrative, since David Lynch himself has insisted that his film is actually a comprehensible and cohesive story.
Most of the anlysis I have read about Mulholland Drive holds the viewpoint of Betty/ Diane. I think that the film is actually mostly told from the viewpoint of Rita/ Kamila Rhodes.
Mulholland Drive employs an in medias res narrative from my understanding. It starts from a turning point, that chronologically is exactly at the middle, Kamila's accident after the hit ordered by Diane went wrong.Kamila Rhodes suffers from serious memory loss, while she is trying to regain her identity. While being heavily injured in her head she suffers dillusions and subsequently creates the Betty character completely out of her imagination. The Betty character is based on her vague memories of the real character of Diane Selwyn. This explains why the neighbour does not seem to recognise Diane when they visit Diane's House. Diane is dead inside her house while Betty exists only in Kamila's imagination. In the scene where Camilla opens the blue box she is ALONE. Betty fades from Camilla's imagination as the scene where she opens the blue box I guess signifies the recovery of her memories and identity. The scene also signifies that the part which is to come actually solves our mystery. The next part which is told mostly through Diane's viewpoint actually explains who Rita was before the accident and how she ended up having a hitman hired to kill her. The last part is chronologically the first and the only one not influenced by Kamila's head injury induced dillusions. Diane commited suicide cause of her guilt of having a hireman hired to kill Kamilla. The old men symbolise her guilt. The narrative of the Hollywood studio forcing the director to pick Camilla Rhodes as the lead in his film, probably comes from the actual Camilla's vague memories of having gotten a role unfairly. Most of the sequences in the first act are extremely dreamlike and non cohesive cause they come from the mind of a seriously injured and demented human being. That may explain the existence of sub narratives like the unnamed man and the monstrous figure from his nightmares. At an extremely unlikely case that person could be Camilla herself living as a homeless and miserable human being many years later after her accident having completely forgotten who she is. Then the first act of the film would totally take place inside the homeless' persons mind. That would explain why that figure holds the blue box at one of the last shots of the film.The only narrative that works independently outside of Kamila's mind and not influenced by her dementia during the first act, is the one concerning the hitman that is still trying to find Kamilla. Finally, the silencio sequence is by far the most enigmatic.
The first part of the film is about the idolized depiction of Hollywood as mirrored through the equally idealised fantasy that Kamilla has about her relationship with Diane. Both don't respond to reality. The Second part is about the harsh truth about Hollywood as seen through the real life relationship of Kamilla and Diane.
From my point of view, Mulholland Drive is a film that solves it's own mystery. It certainly features amazing filmmaking that perfectly does justice to it's very ambitious storytelling .
To summarize, I do not think that this is the right interpretation, just the one that seems right for me. After all Mulholland Drive is a film that invites countless interpretations. The film works in my opinion both as a narrative that is based on the language of dreams and as an utterly complex and hard to unlock mystery film.