The ground has so significantly shifted under our feet that in this, the year 2018, it’s almost hard to remember that David Lynch used to be considered inscrutable. Even genuinely dangerous.
The ground has so significantly shifted under our feet that in this, the year 2018, it’s almost hard to remember that David Lynch used to be considered inscrutable. Even genuinely dangerous. This happens to all cultural bogeymen, of course; doesn’t matter if it’s Godzilla, Magneto or Hannibal Lector, if you give a monster enough charisma and screen time, they’ll end up the hero, with their own Popcap figure and everything. And at this point “David Lynch” is as much a character in media as any of those. So yes, that quirky, silver-haired auteur, fringe darling of the mainstream, the guy who made a direct sequel to Twin Peaks, the guy you can watch make quinoa on Youtube — people really used to have a problem with David Lynch. Because everything weird gets less weird as familiarity with it increases, culture always bends strangeness back towards normality over time. You can set your watch by it. But the other reason that progression is particularly obvious in this example is that David Lynch himself has not changed at all. From Eraserhead to Blue Velvet to previous REWIND selection Dune to Inland Empire — it’s not that he only makes one movie, but they all feel ineffably the same, native to the same alien world, built around and on top of something dark and chilling and not quite articulable, a droning voice repeating in your ear that things aren’t what you think they are. You can learn to find a kind of pleasure in films that summon up that fearful, lurking uneasiness, for the same reason people go on roller coasters. Even audiences not usually inclined towards the surreal recognize that, watching a Lynch movie, you are in unfamiliar territory. You can’t shake the feeling that he knows something secret about people, about you. It causes a visceral reaction. If Lynch is for you, you’re a passionate fan; if he isn’t, you hate everything he makes. That passion is what makes Mulholland Drive a perfect REWIND movie.
Somehow we’ve gotten this far and not said anything about the movie. Okay, here: Mulholland Drive is the ominous ketamine nightmare of someone having Sunset Boulevard projected into one eye and La La Land into the other. It was originally conceived as a television pilot and it feels like the improved second draft of Lost Highway. People change into other people, or they don’t, or they never existed in the first place. Come get weird with REWIND.
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