Lost Highway (Spoilers)

One of the remarkable things about this movie is that even though I
wasn’t sure about what’s going on, I still kept watching the film
with interest. Lynch does a really good job of piquing the audience’s
curiosity, so that they have an interest in seeing what’s next. At
the same time the film does not operate by using linear logic.

It’s
as if you’re in a dream or nightmare. Things don’t happen in a
logical or linear fashion, yet they happen anyway, and you sense some
kind of meaning, but you can’t explain it. The film exists in between
a conventional story and a dream/nightmare. Think of *Eraserhead* and
*Blue Velvet*: Lost Highway exists in the middle of that continuum.
The way the film moves from reality to nightmare is effortless. But
is there a way to make sense of this? Let me give it a shot.

******Spoiler Alert******

Here’s what I’ve been able to piece together so far: Pullman finds
out that his wife, Renee (Patricia Arquette), is having an affair
with a local crime-boss and that she’s part of a porno-prostitution
group. He then kills both the crime-boss and his wife; and then he’s
sent to prison where he is eventually executed. The film could be a
nightmare that the Pullman character is having while on death row.
(There’s a point early on in the film where the police ask Pullman if
he owns a video recorder, and Pullman says that he likes to remember
things in his head, not necessarily the way they actually happened.)

However, this fails to explain Balthazar Getty’s character and role
in the film. At one point, Pullman’s character changes into Getty
while Pullman is in prison. They release Getty’s character. And then
Getty’s character eventually gets together with someone who appears
to be Renee’s sister. Anyway, I still haven’t figured that part out
yet.

Anyway, it’s an interesting film. Interesting in the way that Lynch
can tell stories in a dream-like fashion.

The other thing that I wanted to mention was Lynch’s use of time in
the film. The ending suggest there’s a time-loop happening in the
film, but I haven’t figure out how everything fits together. Lynch
doesn’t manipulate time in the way Tarrantino and other filmmaker do,
where they change the sequence of certain events. Time is sort of
flowing outside of a linear pathway. It’s hard to explain.

Here’s a quote by screenwriter, Barry Gifford:

“We realized we didn’t want to make something that was linear, and that’s why the Moebius strip [as the film’s structure]. A Moebius strip is a long strip of paper curved initially into a circle, but with one end flipped over. The strip now has only one side that flips both inside and outside the shape.” Gifford continues, “It made it easier to explain things to ourselves and keeping it straightforward. The story folds back underneath itself and continues.”

There are almost no distinctions made in Lost Highway between what a character perceives and actually sees. There is no nudge to the audience to say, “This isn’t real.”

“People have to realize it’s good to be baffled. It makes you think. YOU have to bring something to the party. It’s not like lying back and being f—ed. The film forces you to be involved.”

“We’re going in and out of reality, into a kind of irreality. When you enter into a movie theater, you are entering a dream state.You give yourself over and you drown.”

I’ve posted some links to sites that comment on the film.

http://www.geocities.com/~mikehartmann/losthighway/

Here’s a site that tries to explain the movie:

http://www.jasonsweb.com/LostHighway/lh_index.html

3 Responses to “Lost Highway (Spoilers)”


  1. pen

    (Slight tangent) I think I understand Mulholland (sp?) Drive better now. I saw Inside the Actor’s Studio when Jim interviewed Naomi Watts.

    I’ll check out the sites you posted, Reid. I did like Lost Highway. It would be interesting to watch all three movies together (Blue Velvet, Lost, and Mulholland) and see what we can come up with.

    The screenwriter’s quote about the viewer needing to bring something of him or herself to the party is definitely true!

  2. Mitchell

    I haven’t read your entry because I didn’t want to see the spoiler, but did I see this? Is this the Elvis/Marilyn one?

  3. Reid

    Mitchell,

    You’re thinking of *Wild At Heart*. Yeah, you shouldn’t read any of the review until you see the movie. Knowing how much you like style in film, you should definitely check this out. Lynch is better (although different) than Tarantino, imo.

    Penny,

    Well, maybe we can watch *Mulholland Drive* soon. I wouldn’t mind watching *Blue Velvet* again. Btw, it’s geat to see you posting finally!

    Grace Kawanishi, c’mon on down!

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