Lost Highway (1997) – David Lynch

Porn, crime, tailgating, doppelgangers, murder, transmigration of the soul, and time travel all seem to play some part in the next title on the What Else to Watch list in DK Canada’s The Movie Book following my screening of Blue Velvet.

David Lynch gives us another raucous ride as we meet Bill Pullman’s Fred Madison, and his wife Renee (Patricia Aqruette). When strange video tapes begin arriving, and a Mystery Man (Robert Blake) menaces Fred, things get truly bizarre (I’m there right now – that line gives me chills), as the saxophonist is plunged into murder, sentenced to death row, and then finds himself in another body, that of Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty), whose life brushes up against people that Fred has heard of, and a possible doppelganger of his wife… or is she?

Messing with your head as much as it causes you to think about possibilities of what is actually happening, I think this may be one of Lynch’s most linear films despite the fact that thanks to the temporal shift, it loops back on itself.

The idea of twins and doppelgangers is prevalent throughout the film, whether reflections, photos, furniture, characters, there is a duality running throughout the film that can cause the brain to stutter, but I for one loved it.

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This film, when I first experienced it, saw me trying to piece together things that had happened, with things that would and had to, and it was a great ride. It’s been over twenty years since I last watched it, and I stand by that judgment now. This one is dark, fascinating, and the Mystery Man is so damned menacing that it borders on completely unnerving.

And it seems that no matter what Frank or Pete do, their fate is already inescapable, because the events have already happened.

There are a lot of recognizable faces in the supporting characters, Robert Loggia, Jack Nance, Richard Pryor, Gary Busey, Marilyn Manson, and Natasha Gregson Wagner. And whether their appearances are short or not, they definitely have an impact on the film, and the experience of it.

I love how Lynch plays with perception, and the odder aspects of the story… he just lays it all out, and lets you piece it together in your own way, but no matter how you do, it always comes to the same murderous conclusions, spurred on by the Mystery Man who insists that Fred invited him in.

Lynch isn’t for everyone, a lot of people like their movie going experience to be entertainment, they don’t want cinema, they want popcorn. Lynch not only dances on that line, he scuffs it right out of existence as he takes us deeper into his world.

I really enjoyed this one, and it sort of fires up my love for all things Lynch again (even more so than Blue Velvet did).

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Pick up a copy of DK Books’ The Movie Book and check it out, or find a new to you classic to watch tonight!

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