Lost Highway

Lost Highway ★★★★★

Film #75 of Project 90

”There is no such thing as a bad coincidence.”

Some films are like sweet dreams, some are like shocking nightmares and Lost Highway is certainly a meticulously crafted and brutally puzzling nightmare. Wherever you turn it’s all darkness, pain, horror, terror, repulsion and panic. David Lynch creates a lurid beast that reflects our own paranoias and obsessions, Lost Highway is an echo of our own fears. The films takes us to a grueling journey showing us our own phobias and then leaves us baffled and confused, we are totally lost in the end and we don’t even know how to describe this frightening nightmare, trying to understand Lynch’s impenetrable and nerve-racking masterpiece is like trying to find a way out of a dark and tortuous labyrinth with closed eyes.

The margin between reality and imagination is blurry in Lost Highway. Which events are really happening and which ones are just imaginations? Where does reality end and where does Fred’s nightmares begin? Those are crucial questions as different answers will lead to different conclusions. The whole story may be part of his hallucinations, or may be only it is only after he starts to receive the video tapes that his mind starts to make thing up, or perhaps after he goes to jail his imaginations start to take control of his mind, who knows may be there is no Fred at all, may be Fred and everything that happen to him are part of Pete’s imaginations.

The most mystifying thing about Lost Highway is that none of the above mentioned scenarios can explain the whole thing, there’s not a unifying explanation to unlock this monstrous enigma. And that’s the most amazing thing about the film, we are inside the mind of a psychotic person after all (that’s perhaps the only thing that is certain about the whole movie) and nothing’s supposed to make much sense, everything is befuddling. Lynch mixes neo-noir with horror to create an erratic universe where nothing seems sensible, through the gloomy cinematography of Peter Deming and the menacing score of Angelo Badalamenti he is able to transfer all the uncertainty, tension and fright of the whole story to the screen and makes us feel all the dread that surrounds the lives of these characters.

What is the role of women in this story of violence, terror and shock? Jealousy and an uncontrollable sense of love and desire are perhaps Fred’s most significant motives, love for Renee/Alice is driving him crazy, he wants to seize the women in his life and he will do whatever he can to be with them, but the moment he realizes he can’t do so he starts to ruin everything, in his mind he is changing from one character to the other only to give himself another chance to be with the same women, through this defense mechanism he changes the circumstances and hopes for a different result. And such a shattering moment it is when he realizes that this trick won’t work.

Lost Highway is a modern masterpiece from a visionary artist, it is one of those films that will remind you that nothing in this universe is bigger and more pure than a work of art, simply unforgettable. Is it even possible to not think of the film’s hypnotizing opening credits? I guess I've found a new all time favorite.

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