max_2501’s review published on Letterboxd:
“No hay banda! There is no band! Il n'est pas de orquestra! This is all... a tape-recording. No hay banda! And yet we hear a band. If we want to hear a clarinette... listen.”
No better way to start the day than rewatching your favorite movie. Last night I saw a video on why the Winkie's diner scene is so effective (but I don’t recommend you see the video if you haven’t seen the film) and I couldn’t not rewatch the movie.
This is the movie.
And it holds up extremely well (and is still my favorite film of all time). The bizarre jitterbug dance contest at the beginning, the creepy old couple, the swaying camera movements and the overexposed lighting to create a dreamy feeling, the Winkie’s diner scene which thanks to that last empty shot we are kept on edge for the rest of the movie, The Cowboy, the Betty audition scene, “Sixteen Reasons”, “I’ve Told Every Little Star”, the Club Silencio scene, EVERYTHING IS FANTASTIC. I could talk about this film for hours.
It works because (unlike other movies with a twist, like the Sixth Sense, or Shutter Island, that depend completely on the ending) the atmosphere is still there. Its a simple little thing, that is hard to pull off, but Lynch does so magnificently. Despite the fact that I think I understand the movie, it never bored me and it wasn’t just a rewatch in which I only enjoy finding the little details (which I also did), because the movie has a beating heart. The first watch was trying to assemble a puzzle, and now the rewatch is kind of experiencing it. While films like The Sixth Sense and Shutter Island assembling the puzzle is much more engrossing then actually experiencing it, which ends up being not that great, this was not the case with Mulholland Drive. It was a more emotional watch, while also super entertaining and engrossing thanks to its hypnotic imagery and pacing.
I guess I don’t need to talk about how amazing the acting is, or how well Lynch directed this. Because the movie isn’t just Lynch deciding to film some weird surreal shit and that’s it. Its excellently made. The camera movements (like that fast camera movement to the door of Club Silencio), the lighting, the editing, the sound design, the score. It all works together and elevates the film to another level.
I also love how David Lynch plays the audience with clichés. We are so used to some things in movies, norms, and he plays with our expectations of it, like in Betty’s audition scene or the Club Silencio scene. Some scenes are purposely clichéd to make a point and he plays us like a fiddle in the best possible way, while also containing meaning for the film as a whole. Its brilliant.
I will now talk about some spoilers, so yeah if you haven’t seen it, stop here and watch it as soon as you can because its fantastic
On this watch I noticed that the guy who (I think) owned the apartment Adam was in (in the dream part of the film), is the same guy who introduces the lady who sings the song in the scene in Club Silencio, and since that song tells the story of a lover whose heart is broken, because the person they love doesn’t love them back (like Diane and Camila, from Diane’s point of view), its as if that guy from the apartment is introducing Diane, suggesting the idea that maybe they knew each other in real life. That maybe Diane stayed in the apartment Adam stayed in, in her dream. I don’t know how that affects anything but I thought it was pretty interesting.
There are many other details that add so much.
I have made up my mind that the lady who says “Silencio” at the end of the film is saying it because now there is silence, no more tape recording, no more illusion. Reality. Hitting Diane hard on the head which leads to her death. Also the creepy woman at the back of Winkie’s I think is her guilt, and so are the old couple. Louise Bonner too (who talks about how someone is in trouble, referring to Camila being murdered).
Also, is the movie Betty auditions for in her dream for, suggesting a history of abuse?
Also, the Club Silencio scene is perfect. One of my favorite ever. So atmospheric and it provoked this uneasy feeling inside me, the 2 times I saw it. I love that the man tells us its all a tape, an illusion, yet when the woman singer comes on stage and sings we believe it to be so. We forget easily and buy into everything Hollywood sells us. And so did Diane. And in the end, the singer colapses on the ground yet someone is still singing, and we are surprised. But like the man said, its all a tape. No hay banda. Its an illusion.
Its a fascinating character study told in the best way possible. We get to go literally inside Diane’s mind to see how she thinks, what she wants to think, what she wants, what she regrets, what she remembers, what she wants to forget, how she copes with it, everything, creating a dark portrait of Diane’s fragmented psyche. A part of her loves Camila (the Betty part) and the other hates her and wanted to kill her (the criminals, the mob and the hitman). And a lot of her regrets her actions, represented in Louise Bonner, the couple, The Cowboy, and the woman in the back.
This and Taxi Driver are the best character studies I’ve seen.
I’ll probably add more thoughts as I reflect on the movie as the day goes on.