Thursday, February 21, 2008

REVIEW: Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland Dr.

Year: 2001
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Justin Theroux
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated R

Mulholland Dr. isn't the type of movie that would appeal to just anyone. The rumored $11 million for its budget and the $20 million box office gross show this proof. I myself had to read alot about it to understand why I should review it. I mean it wasn't a film I was planning on watching anytime soon since I have never heard of it. It was only when someone on the teamxbox forums mentioned this film so I went to go read up on whats it about. After reading some reviews from other people and staring down the impressive rating it has gotten on Rotten Tomatoes, I decided to give this film a chance. I was hoping this movie to be on par with The Elephant Man which David Lynch also directed.

Plot Outline:
Rita (Laura Harring) is about to be killed by two thugs when their car accidentally smashes into hers. Everyone is killed, except her. She walks off dazed into the night suffering from amnesia and winds up staying in someone else's house. She gets discovered by a hopeful young actress named Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) who's house sitting the place for her aunt. Together they attempt to find out who Rita really is and their journey takes them through the dream like underworld of LA. In the meantime, a desperate film director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) is re-casting the female lead of his film, but outside forces beyond his control insist on one specific girl.

The story of Mulholland Dr. is one weird roller coaster of a ride. The story is very strange and very intense. We get introduced to these characters that we hardly know about, but at the same time, its interesting to see what they do. Their really isn't any major characters in the film. The film is dark and very mysterious. It has a Hollywood film noir type style of telling the story that works really well. This is NOT an easy film to understand at first. I had to watch this film several times just to understand the plot and meaning of the film, but once you fully understand the movie, you will appreciate it. The movie grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. This is probably one of the most bizarre films I have ever seen. The story is great when you get it and is definitely up their with some of Lynch's best works ever. I really think he should have gotten that Academy Award for Best Director because Mulholland Dr. definitely proves he has alot of talent.

The cast of Mulholland Dr. is also great at times. Naomi Watts plays as Betty Elms and she does a great job in her role. Shes very convincing and has alot of talent that really shines in this film. Laura Harring plays Rita and shes also very good. She gives a good performance that I very much enjoyed. We also get Ann Miller playing as Coco, but shes more like the person in the back since she doesn't have a too much of a big role in this film. Dan Hedaya plays as Vincenzo Castigliane and hes very good in his role. He looks and acts just like he should in this movie. I also enjoyed his performance. Overall, I thought the cast was pretty damn solid. I thought everyone gave a good performance that's well above average.

The visual style of Mulholland Dr. is really dark. While the movie doesn't feature any CGI type of special effects, it does have many dark interior and exterior shots that make for some creepy experience. The movie consists of a pale look and feel to it. It makes you feel like your in a really bad nightmare and that you just want to wake up. Whats strange is that detail is pretty sharp. Everything looks like the way it should. The cinematography is also very impressive as we get many different angles of whats going on. This makes for some thrilling moments that is very engaging and just dark.

The movie also has a silent, but deadly soundtrack. While Mulholland Dr. isn't the type of movie you would use to demo your surround sound, its definitely got a unique feel to it. The music is by Angelo Badalamenti who also worked on other great films such as Lynch's previous films Lost Highway and Blue Velvet. The music is very well made as we get many quite moments in the movie where the music just goes completely silent then goes back up. The soundtrack goes so well with the movies dark look. The music doesn't really feature a whole lot of bass, but it still does immerse you into the movies world. Overall, I'm really pleased with the music because it really worked and got me sucked into the movies interesting plot.

Mulholland Dr. is a unique film that you go to not watch, but experience. The movie has a great story that is really a strange and mysterious story to follow at first, but once you go to re-watch it, then you will be able to appreciate the films plot. The cast is very solid with many of the members giving convincing performances. The visual style of the movie is dark and creepy which works best with the films plot. The music is impressive and really puts you into the film. I didn't enjoy Mulholland Dr. at first simply because I couldn't tell what was going on, but then I went back and re-watched it a couple times to fully understand this films story. I enjoyed it way more the second time around. I wouldn't recommend this movie to just anyone. I think if you have an open mind and loves dark stylized movies with tough story telling then I would check this movie out. I also want to advise you not to watch this film when your high because I was freaked out the whole time.

Grade: B

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