Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me ★★★★★

Terrifying. The scariest Lynch film; it beats out Inland Empire since although that is definitely scary, feeling and looking more like a nightmare than anything like a movie, FWWM has a much more personal presence. It feels hypnagogic, like we feel we’re about to drift off to sleep, but convinced that a terrible nightmare awaits us. Very rarely have I felt such a stench of pure dread. We witness the inner turmoil, the downward spiral of poor Laura Palmer through pure expressionism. For all the surreality Lynch throws at us, it all feels connected to a greater whole. Films like Eraserhead or Inland Empire scare me because they’re off-kilter and downright weird, here I get images that reverberate through me and feel not just terrifying, but sad. Everything here is inevitable, an unstoppable train coming off the tracks at full speed, with the last few moments slowed down to an ungodly crawl, giving us a wide-eyed glimpse at the demons of the black lodge and non-linear aura of death. It’s absolutely relentless, a cacophony of visceral horror where the ones designed to protect us end up hurting us the most. Lynch paints Laura Palmer as his most cherished creation. A character that only existed in flashbacks and memories prior is brought to life because Lynch felt a visceral need to tell her story, to make her a corporeal presence with a pulse and a beating heart rather than just someone only remembered when framed within her grisly demise. Laura feels like one of, if the not the only character I recall in Lynch films - the typical ‘Lynchian’ ones anyway - that feels completely innocent, victimised. Not that she necessarily is, but Lynch creates a film so palpably vicious, so miasmically despairing that it’s hard to feel anything but love coming from behind the camera. In a lot of ways, this is her rebirth. Lynch cares for her so much he sets her free from the world of Twin Peaks, the world of television, the world itself and the ending could be read as being Lynch’s most hopeful, most personal. This film wouldn’t have worked nearly as well as a standalone piece without what came before. The inexorable inevitability of Laura Palmer’s death makes this everything; all that fear, anguish and horror is only magnified when we know it’s impossible to stop, only it’s even worse because she doesn’t know what’s coming despite numerous attempts to warn her. Lynch’s most personal film, not just due to Laura but from the very first smashed-TV shot, this feels like his purest version of Twin Peaks, escaping from television for good (he thought) and creating something he likely knew would piss off fans that wanted actual explanations and conclusions to such a baffling show. Instead, Lynch invites them into his world with glee, “open up and let the devil in”, peels back the skin of Twin Peaks and reveals how dark and wicked his world can really get.

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