Mulholland Dr. (2001) Review

If you read my Twin Peaks: The Return premiere reaction, you know I’m a fan of that series and David Lynch’s unique style of filmmaking but I unfortunately haven’t seen any of his films until last night. I’ve made it a point to watch his films due to him being an absolute auteur and master of the craft. I’ve been told by a few people that Mulholland Dr. is a necessary watch. I absolutely love mind bending and twisty films and oh boy is this film that and so much more. I loved this film and the way it blends horror, thriller and romance is absolutely brilliant.

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Mulholland Dr. involves multiple people in Hollywood. An amnesic woman who eventually is called Rita (Laura Harring) who is involved in a car crash and takes shelter in a townhouse that is occupied by the owner’s niece, Betty (Naomi Watts). Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) is a film director who is losing his creative control to mobsters and his story begins to intertwine with Betty and Rita’s as the two search to find out who Rita truly is.

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First and foremost, this film’s plot structure is truly unique. The film involves a lot of different elements of dreaming and the film always feels very dream-like, creating this unique feeling. The cinematography helps represent this by always looking very angelic and hazy which I loved. David Lynch’s films always look very unique and are framed so well that of course this is no exception. There’s so many little subtle things put into frame that make me want to rewatch just to see if I can catch any more clues.

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Naomi Watts is absolutely amazing in this film as is everyone else but this was Watts debut and oh what a debut it was. She jumps between emotions with ease and honestly never felt like she was acting. She is a powerhouse and this film just proves how great she is. Laura Harring is just as great and her chemistry with Watts is spectacular. I loved every moment they were on screen together. Justin Theroux though is probably my favorite performance in the film. His character, Adam Kesher, is definitely a representation of Lynch himself and the auteur filmmaker who is getting his arm twisted when it comes to creative control. Lynch has a lot to say about the studio system and I thought his messages about it were both hilarious and honestly pretty smartly written.

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Mulholland Dr. is a spectacular neo-noir piece that requires multiple viewings and I can’t wait for my next one. There is so much in this film that is unexplained and while that’s due to the fact that it started out as a television pilot, I love trying to interpret what Lynch was going for and love that he welcomes all kinds of interpretations. David Lynch’s films are now must watches from here on out and I cannot wait to see where this visionary directs takes me to next. I’ve been circulating between an A and an A+ for this film for the better half of a day and after a lot of thought…

Grade: A+


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