Mulholland Drive ★★★★½

The first time I watched this, I was unprepared for Lynch's brand of filmmaking. Now that I'm used to his style, I enjoyed Mulholland Drive quite a bit more than I did the first time. Even though I understood the narrative better, I still came out bewildered, confused, and uncomfortable. It crept up inside my mind and made me overthink everything I just saw. I still feel like I need another watch or two to fully grasp everything, but I doubt I'll ever settle on a clear-cut interpretation.

In particular, I paid close attention to the presence of and dynamic between all of the female characters, whether they had major or minor roles. There are some women who are used merely as objects of desire, others exude a sinister energy, and some are simply maternal. Then there's the romantic relationship between Betty and Rita that oscillates between passion and an unhealthy obsession. There is a level of trust and intimacy right off the bat that is at first unsettling but makes more sense as the film suddenly reveals its true nature. Naomi Watts and Laura Harring have tons of primal and explosive chemistry. There is something slightly disturbing about the way Betty protects Rita and the way Rita lets herself be protected without asking any questions.

What makes this film so special is the constant tension, tons of WTF moments, surreal atmosphere, and wild shifts in tone. The best example of this is in the No Hay Banda scene. The change in expression on Betty and Rita's faces as the illusion they're living in shatters in the most beautiful way is quite possibly the most enthralling sequence of the entire film. When shit goes nuts right before the end, the build up of the sense of foreboding throughout the entire film comes to a head in a really stressful and unsatisfying fashion. This is exactly why it stays with you long after it's over. Mulholland Drive functions as both as a fascinating work of art and a thoroughly engaging piece of entertainment, which is exactly how I like my films these days.

Simone liked these reviews