David Lynch, as many know him for, is the master of the surreal. He seems to specialize mostly in road trips, only a lot more trippy than most. His film 'Mulholland Drive', released in 2001, is another award-winning, dreamy masterpiece in which we take a look at the haunted tour of Hollywood from the perspective of Betty Elms.
The film is a meshed-together pattern of many different genres: noire, mystery and thriller turned nightmare. Each one of these genres reveals itself as we dig deeper into the night and into the shattering psyche of Elm's dreams which splinter off into dreams within dreams along with winding alleys and mazes. Angelo Badalamenti's soundtrack only sends more chills down the viewer's spine as they watch, adding to the eerie allure of the film while Mary Sweeny's twitchy editing techniques--her weird imagery, creepy echoes from Elms' previous thoughts and the discomforting close-ups--make the viewer all the more unsettled. Combined with the traditional David Lynch surreal scenery, all of this conjures up a dream-like landscape of the city (Fig 2) where 'dreams come true' so to speak.
However, things begin to take a turn for the strange as the plot seems to become derailed as if we've entered a different plot of a different film:
"Using the doppelganger motif, in the last hour, the two women change identities: Betty is now Diane, a tough and bitter down-on-her luck actress, who's insanely jealous, personally and professionally of Rita, who's now Camilla, the glamorous actress." (Emanuel Levy, <No Date>)
Dopplegangers reoccur--a woman is angelic as well as being homicidal while the other is spiteful while also playing the victim. One remembers everything, but easily forgets. It's almost as if the superficial, Hollywood setting the film is located in is seeping into and rotting away the very plot of the movie, changing the characters' roles. Talking about the eventual degradation of the plot, Nev Pierce of the BBC mentions in his review:
"Going any further with the plot is, frankly, a bit pointless, as Lynch ditches a conventional narrative in favor of a seemingly incoherent string of unconnected scenes. Out of nowhere this engrossing film noir is wrenched apart, and this is hugely annoying. But get over it."(Nev Pierce, 2002)
Near the end of the film, Betty completely loses all senses of herself amidst the feelings of pain, heartbreak and jealousy at which point in the film the plot becomes jumbled and difficult to make out, but it all seems to center around a blue key (Fig 3) and a blue box. We soon find ourselves trying to untangle the strings while attempting to watch the rest of the film, or what little the remaining jumbled shards of the plot have to offer. It doesn't help that Lynch uses the artificiality of the LA theme the film is set in to blur the lines of what is reality and what is not.
Most viewers yearn to find the meaning of the bizarre turn of events in this strange dream, but as per Lynch's style, many are left hanging as if to say that all dreams do not make sense and most of them leave us bewildered and wanting to understand.
Pierce, Nev (2002) http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/12/14/mulholland_drive_2001_review.shtml (Accessed 29/10/12)
Levy, Emanuel (<No Date>) http://www.emanuellevy.com/review/mulholland-drive-3/ (Accessed 29/10/12)
Fig 1. (<No Date>) <No Author> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166924/ (Accessed 29/10/12)
Fig 2. (2009) Adam http://mindlessones.com/tag/mulholland-drive/ (Accessed 29/10/12)
Fig 3 (2012) Miller, Kevin http://kmkmiller.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/notes-on-mulholland-drive-bardo-dream.html (Accessed 29/10/12)