David Lynch directs Patricia Arquette, Bill Pullman and Robert Blake in this surreal tale of sexual paranoia and violent jealousy.
Not prime Lynch, I remember renting this out to watch with a mate at college and both of us sat silently through it, turned it off, took the VHS out and wordlessly went and did something better with the remainder of our day as teenagers. Twenty years down the line and a cautious revisit, I’ve aged better than it has. I now can appreciate the teased intention and few merits; Blake’s ashen faced Mystery Man is hauntingly creepy, the opening half hour has an inexplicable sense of dread and Patricia Arquette spends much of the film in various states of undress, sexual simulations and lovely noir hairstyles (I’m a man, sue me). But once the narrative shifts to focus on a “new” protagonist everything meanders to a halt. The plot has a weak Xerox of Dennis Hopper’s Frank in Blue Velvet (Robert Loggia is fine but he is pointedly no Dennis Hopper’s Frank in Blue Velvet) and everything stinks just like the Twin Peaks series 2 filler involving dull mechanic James running away to a married femme fatale’s mansion… The worst subplot inflicted on us once Laura Palmer’s murder was solved and Lynch abandoned the show. Is Lynch trying to demonstrate to those he left his show in the care of how such a staple noir plot should be done? He fails. Or is this all a forger’s note that he actually was more involved in the more maligned episodes of his television masterpiece? Possible. We keep cutting away to two clueless detective sitting passively, begrudgingly watching, staking out the dangerous affairs and behind close doors demons. Thank you David for including a massive “Go fuck yourself, you fucking idiots” to anyone trying to comprehend the point of this boring experiment. As it is Lynch, and he is such an obscure and unique voice, I’ll no doubt watch this again in 2030s out of completist’s beliefs. No doubt I’ll be just as disappointed again.