Friday, June 25, 2010

Lost Highway

I watched this film many times in high school. Spent a lot of time trying to make sense of the nonsensical, magical realism of the whole character switch. How is a man not the man he once was? While at the same time being the man he always was? Is this some statement on male identity? A statement on America's identity crisis? Is this David Lynch's attempt at a blockbuster?

This was my first experience with a David Lynch film. It was great to re-watch the film with someone experiencing Lynch for the first time. How difficult to sit silently during the slow camera scans... to strain your ears for the hushed, insignificant dialogue... to understand the bizarre topics of conversation... and to ready one for the all out attack against the contemporary film plot.

Lost Highway is about many things. Sex, love, affairs, cars, violence, pornography, music, voyeurism, and power. But, in the end, these are all really insignificant. The film really wants to focus on the power of the human mind to adjust to the worst experiences. A way of escaping our most painful memories in an attempt at a second chance. But, the moral of the story: there is no real second chance. We're doomed from the start.

I think of this film as part of a two film cycle. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive must be watched together. Lynch is making use of very similar ideas in both films. It would be giving away too much to really go into detail on my theory. And, I may be full of shit. But, the abstract quality of both films is at a Lynch peak in these two films. Both films involve identity in a very surreal way. It would be impossible to dismiss their connection.

It is fair to say Lost Highway is a slower film. More a meditation than a film. There are unsettling pieces, exciting pieces, beautiful pieces... but, the film has a slow build. There are moments where the story seems to have disappeared. But, it is all there. Lynch is building you up. Lynch is fucking with your patience.


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