Lost Highway review
by, 10-05-2009 at 02:34 AM (153 Views)
Lost Highway - Okay, one thing is for sure about David Lynch's Lost Highway, you probably will never see another film like it. It is, in my opinion, Lynch's darkest, certainly his coldest leaving the audience with little empathy for any of the characters, except maybe young Jimmy.
Okay, this is one of the most underrated films of the 90's, but it does possess something that the critics in 1997 were right about, it is an excersise in style, though that doesn't mean that it's an empty film.
It has a masterful begining, with extremely shadowy neo-noir lighting (hell, I whole film has some of the best cinematography of any Lynch film), it also has the most effective moments: Those involving encounters with the incredibly creepy Mystery Man. Basically what Lost Highway is about, it identity, with a Lynchian twist with the metaphyiscs of Twin Peaks.
It begins with the couple Fred (who is a saxaphonist) and Renee (who plays two parts in this film), their marriage is cold and empty. One day a video-tape is left on their doorstep. They watch it to discover that it is a videotape of themselves alseep in bed! They call the police "somebody filmed us, while we slept" and before you know it, Fred is acussed of murdering his wife in a very effective sequence.
The fragmentary nature of this film is wonderful, and it possess, like most of Lynch's films, moments of true greatness, as well as ones of medicrity. The very best scene in the film occurs at a party in which Fred has a surreal encounter with the Mystery Man who gives him some information that is utterly mind-bogglingly surreal and creepy, and would probably have impressed Hitchcock. As for the medicore scenes; they are rather the techniques used, for example; one in which there is a POV shot, then with editting effects Lynch pauses the motion for a second and creates a jumbling shaky effect, as if the perciever is losing touch with reality. I have encountered this technique in two of his films; in this one, and in Muholland Drive. In the latter it, it comes at a point of sexual fustration and jealousy for one of the characters, and is infitiley effective, and just perfectly illustrates the character's POV, as a matter of fact, it may be one of the best shots in the entire film. But here in Lost Highway, it is used with haste and feels empty and meaningless.
In the end the main problem with Lost Highway and the reason why it remains merely an excercise in style, is because Lynch doesn't give the audience any reason to care. He can throw at us the most ingenious warps in narrative and identity, but why should we care, or be effected by it beyond the typical reactionary reaction.
Well, in the end, if you are looking for an expereince, you will find it here. It is as dream-like and surreal as Eraserhead, Muholland Drive and Inland Empire, and it will certainly cause confusion and terror, and yet, despite it's flawless cinematography and talented (though at times hasty) directing, it leaves the viewer with little impact except the question "what was that I just saw?" Now of course the reason we watch Lynch is to get that effect, but at least we can say it in the case of his other films to some purpose.