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Mulholland Drive| Review

Nearly all directors have presented a film that incorporates their attributes and characteristics. For Terrence Malick, one could argue that his embodied work was Tree of Life. For Martin Scorsese, it’s clearly Goodfellas. What has ultimately made these films so special and distinct to their respective directors is that such films feel like the final destinations for these directors, as if they had been perfecting their features along their career to ultimately encapsulate them all into a single work. One doesn’t tend to find any difficulty when searching for these notable films amongst directors, but even the most idiosyncratic directors lack a clear answer to this observation. For one, David Lynch has developed numerous qualities of his films, ranging from his presentation of narratives to the ways in which he raises a camera. And for a long time, many critics have argued on the clear answer to this question. For a while, critics declared Blue Velvet as Lynch’s defining work, but as his filmography has increased, a clear answer has emerged.


When Mulholland Drive released in 2001, critics were stunned at the film’s ability to capture the overall characteristics of Lynch’s work. With the distinct noir feel, accompanied by an environment similar to his former projects, the film clearly represents the idiosyncrasy of Lynch as a filmmaker. Building off his past works, like The Elephant Man and Eraserhead, Lynch carries over the dark and brute feeling of those films into Mulholland Drive. He doesn’t just merely copy this past atmosphere in his new film, instead, he adds an almost neo-like ambiance to it. Likewise, Lost Highway, another one of the filmmaker’s notable works, takes place in the same setting as Mulholland Drive, that being LA.


Moreover, Lynch’s usual breakdown of the colloquial narrative system is ever more present throughout the film. Just as in many other Lynch projects, he weaves a web of many side stories and narratives into an, albeit complex, narrative. The overall central theme of such narrative is that of two women trying to make their way through Hollywood. Yet, Lynch periodically shifts focus to other short stories centering around outside characters. And while this may be a reoccurring motif in many of his films, Lynch does it exceptionally well here. The stories effectively function alone, while also miraculously contributing to the general ideas of the film. For instance, Lynch directs attention towards a singular, meaningful, chapter in a side character's life that serves justice to the fluidity of the films.


Though the early 2000s were a notoriously awful time for the filmmaking business, some very well-crafted motion pictures managed to slip through the cracks. A reoccurring trait of these films was that, while they were made by big-budget studios, they all seemed to incorporate very indie-like qualities. Adaptation, for example, embodies a distinctly alternative feel to it, despite being produced by Columbia Pictures. Mulholland Drive very much fits into this description. In the coming years, perhaps due to this previously mentioned artistic trend, many other films and producers seemed to follow suit. This would inevitably continue well into the 2010s, soon branching to companies marketing off this. A24 and Neon benefitted from this trend, as their films have become almost entirely categorized by this indie-commercial style. While Mulholland Drive on its own proves to be a highly regarded film, its era’s legacy emulates even the most influential of films.

Time Stamp: May 2022

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