Beware the following will contain plot detail.
It’s hard to know what to expect when choosing to watch Mulholland Drive. With the benefit of hindsight, there’s at least some quality assurance as it’s Oscar nominated but better still, it’s survived the 2000s without being cringeworthy today. Having never watched one of David Lynch’s films before, a director with an illustrious career, it was interesting to explore a new area of the film landscape with the promise of a sunny horizon.
After a surreal, dream-like opening of contemporary art, the film begins at night at Mulholland drive where a woman (Harring) barely survives a car crash. Suffering from memory loss, she stumbles her way into a lush LA apartment. Living up to its mysterious nature, not much more information is given. The next morning, we follow a fresh-faced Betty (Watts) who has just arrived at LA and dreams of making it big. Betty is staying at where the woman wound up and, in between auditioning, Betty decides to help unravel the few clues she has of her friendly intruder’s identity. Meanwhile, a couple of local mobsters are trying to persuade a film director to cast someone of their choosing into the lead female role by pulling out some classic mafia-esque intimidation tactics. These two seemingly disparate plot lines are slowly fused together and the real power behind Mulholland Drive’s plot lies thereafter. It is only in the latter half of Mulholland Drive that the wall of suspense comes crashing down and watching it crumble is plain satisfying.
This is definitely not a film to everyone’s tastes and more of a rogue recommendation as it isn’t one that makes for easy viewing partly due its off-kilter atmosphere and also because it’s demanding to stay with it. However, there’s an undeniable quality to the result and for those who enjoy it, this is one that plays with your mind like a marionette. I certainly found it entertaining despite there being moments where I was slightly lost. With new surprises few and far between nowadays, Mulholland Drive is another great reason to delve into older films as it delivers this in a daring fashion.