MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

Director: David Lynch

Starring: Laura Elena Harring, Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux, Monty Montgomery, Ann Miller, Robert Forster, Dan Hedaya, Billy Ray Cyrus

Genre: Mystery/Drama/Thriller (available in VHS and DVD)

Reviewed by Judith Fox

If you want to know all about the Hell known as Hollywood I think you could watch a simpler film than this one. But itís my opinion itís well told and worth watching.

If youíve never seen anything by film maker, David Lynch, Iíd recommend this film as the first to watch. Hold onto your hats, people, itís going to be a roller coaster ride. Itís bizarre and fascinating. It probably wonít get enough credit for brilliance.

The two main characters are Betty (Naomi Watts) and Rita (Laura Elena Harring). Betty arrives in Hollywood with a fresh new face and Pollyanna attitude to make her success as a movie star. She borrows her absent auntís apartment and discovers Rita in the shower, a beautiful exotic woman who has lost her memory. The only thing Rita remembers is a car accident. Thatís the first mystery. They become friends -- thanks to Betty who decides to help Rita find out who she is.

Keep an open mind and try to relax as scene after scene puzzles you. Youíll be exasperated at one point or the other and think you donít want to watch this DVD. Youíve been cheated. But you never do turn it off. You are hooked. In more ways than one this is a mystery.

Itís up to you to figure out how the puzzle fits together. There arenít any red herrings in Mulholland Drive. In case you donít know, a red herring is a popular old trick in mysteries to throw you off the scent. Unless you want to make one up for yourself. The last thing needed is a red herring clue. There are enough characters, scenes and unanswered questions that suffice.

Two and a half hours later, I hadnít figured it out. But I was intrigued. The next day I was still thinking about the story. Thatís a lot more than I did for a few other mysteries.

This fast moving story was an adventure. And I didnít even have to leave my living room.

Itís possible to lose track of whoís who when you are shown another scene, but not likely. I kept looking for more clues, expecting surprises at every move from every character.

A director character (Justin Theroux) is funny--a kind of comedy relief. Heís ordered to take in an ambitious actress to star in his movie because thatís what the old gangsters backing his movie demand. The director is in a lot of scenes and is connected to Betty and Rita. Heís a cuckold husband and the scene with his wife and the lover is like something from Laurel and Hardy.

Thereís a hitman hired to kill some characters and heís so lousy at his job he is more like an accident waiting to happen. Itís funny too.

Coco (Ann Miller) is the landlady at the apartments where Bettyís aunt lives. She gives her own portrayal of an old show biz actress with a wise attitude and a kind heart.

Thereís a blue box and a blue key to open it. But until nearly half way through the story, you wonder and then nearly forget about that little blue key lying on the coffee table. That key was originally found by Rita at the bottom of a purse full of cash, but she didnít know anything more about it than the viewer does.

The mysterious blue box is finally opened by the blue key. You see the contents of the box--a black void and thereís a sound like youíve slurped through a straw when thereís nothing left at the bottom of the glass.

But there is. Same story at a different view like having scrambled eggs instead of an omelette. Same people loosely connected to the previous story.

In my research I found that David Lynch had originally made this film for a series but it never happened.

He put it together and called it Mulholland Drive.

A recommended must see if you ask me.

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