Wannabe actress Betty moves into her Aunt’s apartment only to find Rita, a strange woman with no recollection of who she is. Together, they try to find Rita’s identity.
While not my favorite David Lynch film, this is a step up from the film I reviewed last week: Eraserhead. It actually has a semblance of plot, and contains a few likable characters. This is no Twin Peaks, but I would argue this is definitely worth the watch. Why? Let’s find out.
While Lynch’s writing is an acquired taste, it works well in this movie. His dialogue is very campy, and if you’re okay with lines that no one would ever say ever, then you might be okay with this dialogue. It worked seamlessly in Twin Peaks as that was a TV series, and all TV series at that time had campy dialogue. In this film, it does take a little getting used to. Once you do, there are different pieces of dialogue that I found myself appreciating. During a tender moment, Rita called Betty her “sweet Betty”, which had the soft consonants of “w” and “t” making it sound more sensual. Essentially, the dialogue sounds nice.
The characters are likable because although they often are just barely more complex than stereotypes, they are. For example, the character of Betty is a wannabe Hollywood actress with a fun, bubbly personality who you think is going to get run over by everyone, and does, but still has spunk to her and does things that you wouldn’t expect her to (like breaking into buildings).
The film would’ve most likely sucked it if it weren’t for the acting. David Lynch’s directing is hit or miss, his writing too, but the acting in this movie is good whether you like Lynch or not. Naomi Watts in particular is excellent in her portrayals of Diane/Betty in this movie. Her emotions seem real and vivid. There are some moments in the movie, particularly towards the end, that would seem boring or cheesy with any other actress, but because of Watts, the scene is heartbreaking, or heartwarming, or whatever other emotion the scene’s supposed to convey.
One thing that I didn’t like about the film is the lack of Lynch’s iconic horror. While there are some scary moments in the movie, there were a lot less of them here compared to his previous works. I feel like there was a lot of potential for a good scare that wasn’t taken. There was plenty of Lynch’s sense of humor in the work, thankfully, yet there was little of his horror.
Another thing I didn’t like was the weird subplot the film contained about the two assassins. Ultimately, there really wasn’t a point to it being there, and didn’t add much to the story altogether. I understand that a lot of the film’s ideas are abstract, but the scenes with the assassins just seemed to add comedic value at certain points in the movie, but were ultimately unnecessary. I didn’t care about what these guys were doing, I just wanted to see what Betty and Rita were doing.
There are two LGBT characters that get into a relationship in this movie, which, given it’s era, was profound. This movie was made in 2001 and not 1969 of course, but even in 2001 there was a lot of homophobia in this country, and not a lot of LGBT characters were in movies. And, they weren’t degraded to stereotypes, but instead were real people. But, Mulholland Drive included these characters, which is just another reason to give this movie a watch.
Ultimately, while this isn’t Lynch’s best, it’s definitely worth the watch.
Mullholland Drive: Another Lynch movie
Writing - 8.3/108.3/10
Storyline - 8.8/108.8/10
Acting - 9.7/109.7/10
Music - 9.4/109.4/10
Production - 9/109/10
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