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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

David Lynch Mulholland Drive

David Lynch wrote and directed this look at two women who find themselves walking a fine line between truth and deception in the beautiful but dangerous netherworld of Hollywood. A beautiful woman (Laura Elena Harring) riding in a limousine along Los Angeles' Mulholland Drive is targeted by a would-be shooter, but before he can pull the trigger, she is injured when her limo is hit by another car. The woman stumbles from the wreck with a head wound, and in time makes her way into an apartment with no idea of where or who she is. As it turns out, the apartment is home to an elderly woman who is out of town, and is allowing her niece Betty (Naomi Watts) to stay there; Betty is a small-town girl from Canada who wants to be an actress, and her aunt was able to arrange an audition with a film director for her. Betty befriends the injured woman, who begins calling herself "Rita" after seeing a poster of Rita Hayworth. While Betty's audition impresses a casting agent, and she catches the eye of hotshot director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux), Kesher's producers and moneymen insist with no small vehemence that he instead cast a woman named Camilla Rhodes. As Rita attempts to put the pieces of her life back together, she pulls the name Diane Selwyn from her memory; Rita thinks it could be her real name, but when she and Betty find a listing for Diane Selwyn and visit her apartment, they discover the latest victim of a mysterious killer who is eluding police detective Harry McKnight (Robert Forster). Rita's emotional identity soon takes a left turn, and it turns out that neither woman is quite who she once appeared to be. David Lynch originally conceived Mulholland Drive as the pilot film for a television series; after the ABC television network rejected the pilot and declined to air it, the French production film StudioCanal took over the project, and Lynch reshot and re-edited the material into a theatrical feature. The resulting version of Mulholland Drive premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where David Lynch shared Best Director honors with Joel Coen. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Mulholland Drive

David Lynch’s works have always existed in a world of their own, from 1976′s Eraserhead and 1980′s The Elephant Man, right through Twin Peaks and 1996′s Inland Empire, the writer/director has always enjoyed toying with the surreal; twisting the bounds of fantasy and reality. Perhaps, arguably, none of his films did this more effectively or evocatively than 2001′s Mulholland Drive.

A neo-noir anachronistic pulp fiction trip through the dark underbelly of Hollywood, Mulholland Drive throws away any notion of traditional, linear storytelling in favor of blending of fantasy and reality where you’re never really sure what’s real, or which direction you’re heading.

It’s Hollywood, and the pie-eyed blonde Canadian actress Betty (Naomi Watts) has arrived at her aunt’s place to find a mysterious and beautiful brunette, Rita (Laura Elena Harring) who’s been in a car accident and lost her memory. Betty endeavors to aid Rita regain her memory, and it takes the two down a strange path where the dream world and the real world collide. Their story intersects with a film director (Justin Theroux) being strong-armed into hiring an actress in the lead role of his film by two gangsters, but his connection to the two ladies may run deeper than it seems.

Sexy, sleek, dark, and erotic, Mullholland Drive is filled with esoteric symbolism. It is wide open to interpretation, particularly given Lynch’s brilliant and completely unpredictable plot twist that turns Mulholland Drive into two different films, forcing viewers to reinterpret what they’d come to assume during the first part of the film. But, what is the reality? That, I am afraid, is for you or anyone to decide. Brilliant.

This Blu-ray offers a nice, clean 1080p encoding of Mulholland Drive that is unhindered by any processing or compression artifacts. The artistic nature of the production is such that detail is purposely soft and lighting diffuse, but the film looks good in this edition. There’s a nice layer of grain that remains consistent, flesh tones look realistic, and shadow detail is nicely extended. The midrange tones are warm and contrast is strong without clipping.

The mostly ambient soundtrack, provided in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix (48kHz/16-bit), provides strong, clean dialogue, but it can get downright boomy at times when the score kicks in, sometimes become a little overwhelming. Still, it provides for good, engulfing entertainment.

The numerous new and recycled bonus materials offer good background and insight into David Lynch’s thought-provoking drama.

The supplements provided with this release are:
Introduction by Thierry Jousse (1.78:1; HD)
In the Blue Box (1.78:1; HD) – A retrospective documentary featuring directors and critics
On the Road to Mulholland Drive (1.33:1; PAL)
Marie Sweney
Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti: audio interview. 10 Years After
Back to Mulholland Drive (1.33:1; PAL)
Booklet: Essay by Adam Woodward, Journalist. Adam Wodward has worked as online editor for Little White Lies magazine since 2009 and currently writes for a number of film-related publications, including Playground magazine and Eye For Film.

The Definitive Word

Optimum and The StudioCanal Collection do a wonderful job bringing yet another one of David Lynch’s masterpieces to high definition with this solid Blu-ray effort of Mulholland Drive. This film is not to be missed under any circumstances.

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