Lost Highway

1997

Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

72
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 111851

Synopsis


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January 18, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Director

Cast

Patricia Arquette as Renee Madison / Alice Wakefield
Giovanni Ribisi as Steve 'V'
Bill Pullman as Fred Madison
David Lynch as Morgue Attendant
720p.BLU
695.80 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
2hr 14 min
P/S 1 / 29

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris Davis 10 / 10

You'll never have me - but we can try

Just watched this for the first time, and enjoyed it immensely. Some here have suggested that there's no 'real' story at all. I don't agree: Lynch doesn't work like that - no matter how bizarre and reticulated, there's a story there, all right, but you have to dig for it.

'Mulholland Drive' informs this film considerably. Having deconstructed that one to my satisfaction, I have a clearer view of how Lynch does things; how he shows us the elements, the language he uses, and what he leaves out for us to discover. So, then - *SPOILERS*, if I'm right:

As with MD, there's a big clue in the first few seconds: Fred is shown in close-up, looking thoroughly wrecked, smoking a cigarette unsteadily. There's a buzzing sound, and light sweeps across his face and the room. *The sound is one you'll become familiar with later, in the jailhouse.* Fred looks up, warily.

Major premise: I believe this scene shows Fred, in the last moments of his life, having his last cigarette before they come to take him to the chair. This may, in fact, be the only 'real' scene in the film, with everything else being Fred's distorted recollection, and the rest a psychotic break fantasy he constructs to escape from his grim situation.

As the door to his cell opens, Fred rejects the awfulness of reality, and transforms the buzz into the sound of his door intercom, and at this point we go into his personal flashback as the story continues.

The acting and dialogue is often stilted and unrealistic in this flashback. What we're seeing is Fred's recollection, which - as he himself says - is not necessarily the way it actually happened. His relationship with Renee is tense and unreal, with lots of suppressed rage. Cleverly, the undercurrents are conveyed mostly by the background sounds - listed in the credits as 'Ominous drones' - and these provide the significance that the dialogue alone would lack.

At the party scene several events take place: his suspicions about Renee and the impossibly sleazy - because he's seen through Fred's eyes - lounge-lizard Andy are effectively confirmed (for him). And he meets the 'Mystery Man', a devil-figure who tells Fred "You invited me (into your home). It is not my custom to go where I'm not wanted". I suspect that this figure is Fred's attempt to unload his guilt onto someone else: a 'devil who made him do it' - don't you have to invite the devil into your house? Perhaps he's the personification of Fred's insanity, or his jealousy. Or all of the above - all the dark influences in Fred's life and head.

As the flashback continues, we see the progression up to the point where he finally does murder Renee, horribly. Again he attempts to reject the reality by showing it all on video, but reality intrudes and a few seconds are shown of him 'really' sitting among the dismembered parts of his wife. His subsequent trial and sentencing are skipped over - they're a blur to Fred - and he winds up on Death Row.

Facing execution, and unable to tolerate his real state, Fred then creates a fantasy in which he escapes his fate by miraculously turning into another person - an innocent: young, enjoying a simple life, good at his simple job; with groovy, understanding parents and a pliable girlfriend.

The scenes around Fred's miraculous replacement are classic Lynch fantasy-made-real: the dialogue is ludicrous; the events comic-book. We see the same in the fantasy world of the central character in MD.

Although safe in this new fantastical environment, Fred/Peter is unable to resist being drawn back into danger, initially via his unlikely relationship with the - again comic-book - gangster boss, Mr. Eddy. This gangster character is a one-dimensional, violent crazy man who recalls the fantasy mafia types invented by the central character in MD to 'explain' her bad break.

Even so, Peter's life will remain peaceful if he avoids any dealings with Eddy outside of the grease-monkey relationship. But Fred's paranoia demands danger, and Peter begins an even less plausible and obviously perilous association with Fred's new incarnation of Renee: the pure-hearted damsel in distress that is Alice.

Except that, once again, Peter's life is contorted by Fred's paranoia, and Alice slowly metamorphoses into a spiteful, greedy psychotic who leads Peter further into danger.

(I looked for the 'Eye of the Duck' peripeteiac scene that Lynch always puts into his films, and one of the candidates is, I think, the moment where Alice points the gun at him after raiding 'Andy's' house. The tableau is held long enough to allow you to contemplate all that could happen if she shoots Peter and takes off. But that's not possible in a Fred/Peter fantasy, so we continue, with the point about her ruthlessness made.)

What else? The storyline continues as might be expected, with Alice now in total control. The cabin we've seen before just prior to Fred's metamorphosis. Alice disappears. The Mystery Man returns, and so does Mr. Eddy and Fred. All of this in a fight, during which the devil-figure hands him a knife that allows him to defeat Eddy/Dick Laurent (as we have discovered), and finally everything turns to crap as Fred heads back onto the highway with retribution on his tail. Things look hopeless, and the escape fantasy has brought him back to the point where he came in.

And then Fred begins another metamorphosis, which we never see completed, and the film ends. Is this another fantasy escape, or his death in the Chair?

I don't know how much of this is correct. Perhaps one day someone will tie Mr. Lynch to a rack, put electrodes on his nuts, and extract the line-by-line details of his wonderful creations. Until then we must wonder and worry. And marvel.

Reviewed by laurenroseziegler 9 / 10

A classic Lynch experience

Lost Highway is a perfect example of Lynch's "dream sequence" type films. The veil between past and present is very thin and creates a time loop where the pieces don't all fit together perfectly. Lynch explores a vast array of different sensory experiences ranging from strobe lights to a cacophony of chaotic jazz. This movie is a fantastic visual and audial experience.

Reviewed by framptonhollis 10 / 10

a neverending road...

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...

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