Mulholland Drive: A baffling masterpiece for the ages

Mulholland Drive: A baffling masterpiece for the ages

Widely considered one of the best and most confusing films of all time, David Lynch’s psychological thriller Mulholland Drive is just as brilliant as it was almost 16 years ago. A newly restored version of the film has been screening across the UK, preceding a special edition DVD release this month. This dark masterpiece twists through the streets and studios of a hazy Hollywood, where amnesiac Rita (Laura Elena Harring) encounters aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts) after a car accident. One viewing simply won’t suffice to get a grasp on this film as its unnerving characters, confusing plot lines and cryptic blue box will have you questioning it for days.

The film contains Lynch’s classic blonde and brunette duo as Betty and Rita embark on a hunt to uncover the truth behind Rita’s accident. Along the way there is a philosophical cowboy, an incompetent hitman, an oppressed director (Justin Theroux), a terrifying homeless man and one mystery layered on top of another. One of the most surreal scenes includes a chilling performance at the dream-like Club Silencio, in which a singer collapses during her Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’, only for her voice to continue in an eerie recording. This films also boasts one of the most terrifying jump scares of all time, one that is set up and drawn out for so long that the expectation is almost unbearable.

One viewing simply won’t suffice to get a grasp on this film as its unnerving characters, confusing plot lines and cryptic blue box will have you questioning it for days.

Last year, Mulholland Drive placed first on The BBC’s ‘The 21st Century’s 100 greatest films’, beating the likes of Requiem for a Dream, The Pianist and 12 Years a Slave. This is quite an achievement for a disturbing and potentially polarising film, but it goes to show how immensely clever, original and thought-provoking it is. Every scene pushes you to your limits and sucks you into its seductive beauty and head-scratching mysteries. The result is dizzying and will leave you with a mountain of questions.

Lynch has always closely guarded the answers to this film and doesn’t encourage viewers to try to unravel it, hence why the last word of the film is ‘silencio’ (silence). However, this hasn’t stopped many trying to decode its mysteries for over 15 years later, demonstrating the hold it still possesses on viewers. Its magic has not faded.

Lucy Ingram

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

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