Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me ★★★★★

As a fan of Twin Peaks, when I discovered that the the follow-up film to the series was a prequel I reacted with confusion. The series ends on a massive cliff-hanger, and it feels remarkably wasteful that Lynch would blow his last foray into this universe on a prequel. As the audience, we already know what happened to Laura Palmer, and the fine details don't really matter when Special Agent Dale Cooper is left _____________ at the end of the series. I ultimately decided to watch the film, and much to my surprise I discovered that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is both an essential prequel, and Lynch's greatest achievement.

I found it difficult to comprehend that an examination of the event leading up to the television series could reveal so many answers to the lingering questions left by the show's cancellation. I don't need to retread the analysis that has already been done in regards to the way in which this film connects to the serie's mysteries, so I won't. All I will say is that Twin Peaks needs to be watched before anyone decides to watch this film, and any attempts otherwise would be pointless and destructive.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is both a perfect film and a flawed one, depending on one's expectations coming off of the television series. The film is a lot darker than the series, mainly because it doesn't pause for the goofy humour that made the series so enjoyable. Personally, I was more a fan of the strangeness and the dark underbelly of the town than I was of the goofy humour (not to say that I don't love the humour in the show), so I was entirely immersed by this film, which is full of surreal imagery and disturbing content. The cut to the red room during the scene with David Bowie is one of the strangest scenes I've ever seen on film, full of strange images that are both horrifying and captivating.

The opening scenes with Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland feel so foreign the to accustomed Twin Peaks viewer, as Lynch's added cinematic flourishes are incredibly different from the television style. The film is grittier and better lit -- a neo-noir that excels in its moody lighting design. The film's lighting is nothing short of incredible, and the scene in which Laura enters the bar with the Julee Cruise song playing is one of the greatest sequences I've ever seen. The contrast between reds and blues is simply amazing, and the soft lighting is simply beautiful (as well as horrifying, as the scene previously described turns from a heavenly atmosphere to Hell itself).

The marriage of visuals and sound design is absolutely outstanding, thanks in part to Lynch's eye for visuals and Angelo Badelamenti's fantastic music. The film is unlike anything else I've seen, mostly because Lynch blends television style (flat long shots) and cinematic design in a way that I've never been exposed to before. The film is split between styles, the first half being very cinematic and the second half looking more like a television show, however, this film looks infinitely better than any television show. The imagery at the end of the film, with the angelic representation of Laura, is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a film, especially as it's underscored by an incredibly powerful usage of sound and music.

It is really difficult for me to discuss this film, since I want to avoid spoiling the best moments and it is also incredibly difficult to discuss a film that is so reliant on the medium; the film only works as a cinematic experience, and describing it in words is fucking pointless. The film is perfect as a whole, and no amount of analysis and explanation can ever convey how good it is. David Lynch has not made anything else to reach this level of artistic perfection (although Inland Empire comes very close), and it is indisputable that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is his masterpiece. Never before has a prequel, nor many films in general, reached this level of filmic storytelling, and I have no qualms about saying that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is one of the greatest films of all time.

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