Mulholland Drive

Director: David Lynch
Year: 2001
Country: USA
Running time: 146 mins
Screenplay: David Lynch
Production co: Les Films Alain Sarde/Studio-Canal/Asymmetrical/Picture Factory
Producers: Mary Sweeney, Alain Sarde, Neal Edelstein, Michael Polaire, Tony Krantz
Photography: Peter Deming
Editor: Mary Sweeney
Production designer: Jack Fisk
Art director: Peter Jamison
Costume designer: Amy Stofsky
Sound: Susumo Tokonow, Edward Novick
Music: Angelo Badalamenti

Adam Kesher: Justin Theroux
Betty Elms: Naomi Watts
Rita: Laura Elena Harring
Coco Lenoix: Ann Miller
Vincent Castigliane: Dan Hedaya
Joe: Mark Pellegrino
Studio Singer: Brian Beacock
Det. Harry McKnight: Robert Forster

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition), Toronto, New York, Vancouver, London 2001; Rotterdam 2002
A self-described ‘love story in the city of dreams’, Mulholland Drive finds director David Lynch at his most structurally ambitious and mind-blowing best. In this Twin Peaks meets Lost Highway noir, the underlit and overimagined streets of Los Angeles are a launching point for the exploration of the dark recesses of the mind. Like the mode of transportation LA is most noted for, the film speeds up and down, shifting gears all the while, and runs down a road full of unexpected twists and thrilling turns. The film begins as Hollywood parody – with gratuitous establishing shots, a (mostly) linear narrative, and iconic characters culled from Lynch’s favorite decade, the 1950s. Betty (Naomi Watts), a wide-eyed blonde from Deep River, Ontario, arrives in the City of Dreams fresh off winning a jitterbug contest to make it big as an actress. Soon after arriving in her aunt’s apartment, she discovers a shell-shocked amnesiac (Laura Elena Harring) who has barely survived a phenomenal car crash. She espies a poster of Gilda and assumes the name and mantle of Rita Hayworth. Acclimatizing herself to the Hollywood meat market, Betty has her first, excessively sultry audition and the two women try to discover Rita’s true identity.

Then, to put it mildly, all hell breaks loose. Characters switch names, personalities are inverted, a woman with blue hair in a mysterious nightclub lip-synchs Roy Orbison in Spanish, and much, much more, building at breakneck speed, as Lynch intuitively integrates unforgettable images with a dense, intricate sound design. With familiar signifiers popping up aplenty, Mulholland Drive is a classic remix of Lynch’s other films that manages something unique. A pop surrealist master, Lynch taps into a well of concealed despair and disillusionment, castigating Hollywood – and those in American society who… think their lives can be lived according to its movies. — Mark Peranson, Vancouver Film Festival 2001