Scott Bailey 🇺🇦’s review published on Letterboxd:
So..... this movie happened... and the only way I can describe this film is that I just feel like I've been on an acid trip for two and a half hours. My previous experiences with David Lynch has been interesting to say the least, but Mulholland Drive is the first time I've seen a film from him where I absolutely loved it from start to finish. This is simply a surrealists paradise!
Laura Elena Harring gives an absolutely riveting performance as a dark haired woman who survives a car accident, which coincidentally saved her from what looked like an assassination attempt. The accident leaves her with amnesia, and she has no idea who she is, simply going by the name Rita after seeing a poster of Rita Hayworth. Everything about her performance and mannerisms just makes her so desirable and as the film went on I kind of felt like I was under a spell. She's absolutely stunning in this movie.
Naomi Watts on the other hand is Betty, an aspiring actress who is absurdly happy, naïve and optimistic. She finds the mysterious woman in her rented apartment, and while she's determined to find the clues to help her find her identity, Watts appears to be something of a blank slate herself! She is truly at her best in this movie, and I love seeing performances that are transformative in the manner it is here and when I rewatch this I can go more in depth on this in a spoiler review. For now though I shall just say I was completely floored once the credits rolled.
At first Lynch plays this off like a Hitchcockian style mystery, but in a more absurd way where the film will have a few scenes that focus on some of the side characters that are largely unexplained a first, but are integral to the story. Some of the scenes from them are also some of the funniest as well, for example one of the scenes involving a botched assassination just had me in stitches.
Outside of the two leads Justin Theroux as Adam Kesher gets the most focus as a successful film director, and you kind of buy into his his rage and frustration as he is humiliated at almost every turn, including one scene where he catches his wife having an affair, in another scene so outrageously absurd it's hilarious!
All of this connects to the main characters in some way, but of course when it comes to David Lynch and his style of writing, nothing is ever that straight forward and it slowly builds its way up to, what I can only describe as a complete and utter mind fuck!
Mulholland Drive is an intentionally hazy experience right from the insanity that is the opening dance sequence, and straight away you know you're in for an interesting visual experience to say the least. The imagery, the use of colour, the lighting that often fades to black are just some of the trademarks David Lynch has with his visual style and it looks beautiful and disturbing at the same time. It paints a surreal world where you are supposed to suspend disbelief in what you're watching, which is why I think Naomi Watts' performance works as well as it does. It's brilliantly done because even the most absurd things in this film feels purposeful.
Mulholland Drive is without a doubt a masterpiece, and so far it is my favourite David Lynch film. It's a film that is all about the experience and with the open to interpretation nature of the plot. Making sense of everything you've seen and deciphering it comes later and to me is actually a part of the fun. It is absolutely absorbing!