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Mulholland Drive

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Mulholland Drive

Starring: Robert Forster, Laura Harring
Director: David Lynch
Rated: R
RunTime: 147 Minutes
Release Date: October 2001
Genres: Drama, Suspense


*Also starring: Robert Forster, Justin Theroux, Brent Briscoe, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dan Hedaya, Ann Miller, Michael J. Anderson, Scott Coffey



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Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE is a cross between a slow-motion episode of "The X Files" and a super long version of "Twin Peaks." A baffling but always intriguing failure, the movie gets more confusing, not less, as the story unfolds. Lynch won the director's prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival for the film. It would have been more appropriate if he had a gotten a dual award -- a first for directing and a booby prize for writing. Lynch can make the simple act of walking down a small staircase ominous, but his script is full of bewildering and unrealistic characters for whom we care nothing.

Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) is a "golly-gee" kind of would-be starlet who has just arrived in Los Angeles in order to make her fortune in the movies. Upon arrival, this innocent blonde goes to her new apartment, where she finds a mysterious, dark-haired beauty who may or may not be named Rita (Laura Harring). Rita, who was recently in a car accident, isn't sure of much about herself, including her own name.

A typically bizarre event at the apartment has a mysterious woman dressed in a heavy black robe knocking on Betty's door. Looking like someone from a gothic novel, this stranger in the shadows warns Betty, "Someone is in trouble. Something bad is happening." When she closes the door, Betty's only response is, "Wow!" Yours will probably be an equally simplistic, "Huh?" You'll be thinking that a lot during this movie, which needs a pictorial scorecard to keep track of all of the quirky characters who make brief appearances. One known only as "The Cowboy," who acts like he's attempting Jedi mind tricks, is perhaps the most bizarre character.

Meanwhile, across town director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) is casting his new movie. A couple of strange Mafia types insist that, for the leading role, Adam must choose their actress, Cammie Rhodes (Melissa George) -- no relation. One of these perplexing bad guys asks for an espresso and a napkin, which he uses to slowly spit out the drink when it is not up to his demanding standards.

Almost every scene is full of foreboding, although the source of the danger is never quite clear. Frequently Lynch appears to have his camera dolly floating on a gently undulating sea in order to enhance the audience's queasiness.

Before the ending credits roll, there is a murder, some mistaken identities, a puzzling small box, a couple of Lesbian love scenes and one confusing incident after another. "I'm going to trust you to sort this thing out," Coco (Ann Miller) tells Betty at one point. Good luck.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE runs way too long at 2:26. It is rated R for "violence, language and some strong sexuality" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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