31 Days of Spookoween: DAY TWELVE
Film #12: Lost Highway (1997)
Review: "We've met before, haven't we..."
Chilling words from a stranger...made even more chilling thanks to the smiling, devilish performance from Robert Blake who plays the horrifying Mystery Man, a major piece to the brilliant puzzle that is "Lost Higway".
"Highway" is one of Lynch's most accessible surrealist works, but that does not mean it is not at all challenging or mindbending or experimental, it has all of those elements firmly in place and more. It is a wild, entertaining, and enigmatic ride powered by a storm of engaging twists, dark plots, and unique visuals. The lighting gives it a glossy, exaggerated look, almost as if it were some kind of cross between a whimsical fantasy and stylized hard boil detective flick, but it is neither of these things. What is it, you may ask? It is a David Lynch film, I will respond. And that is all you need to know.
It is scary and brilliant and dark, it embraces speculation and analysis while also remaining coherent, its story and characters are enough to keep the viewer engaged; the more difficult riddles and metaphors are interwoven with action and music and horror and drama, it's a non stop rocket ride through Hell, it's a plunge into the darkness of death, that everlasting, unwinding road with the power to mesmerize, confuse, and frighten.
The way I see it, the film can be split into three lose parts. Part one is pure Lynchian surrealism, it is deliberately slow and yet it still keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat, always anticipating the next move a character may take, the next dramatic shift in the story. Its atmosphere is one of absolute dread and unbearable if often unexplained tension, it is Lynch doing what he does best. The second part speeds things up a bit. Sexy, funny, fast paced, and bizarre, it's easily the most digestible and coherent part of the movie, encapsulating the mood of a film noir and a 90's crime thriller peppered with heavy doses of the surreal...and it steadily inclines into the third half, where things get really weird. It's a cross between the surrealistic, blood curdling, mind blowing horror of the first half and the fun, exciting weirdness of the second, culminating in one huge avant garde masterpiece work watching over and over and over again, allowing that vision of the infinite highway to swallow whatever is left of your soul and haunt your nights for all the years to come...