David Lynch 1946-
(Full name David Keith Lynch) American director and screenwriter.
The following entry presents criticism on Lynch's career through 2002. For further information on his life and works, see CLC, Volume 66.
Regarded as one of the most creative and unusual filmmakers of his generation, Lynch has earned a reputation for confronting audiences with his distinctive personal vision, showing physical and psychological deformity with unsettling frankness. His works often focus upon innocent, alienated, or obsessive individuals who reflect either his own personality or those of characters drawn from American popular culture and cinema. By emphasizing protagonists entangled in sinister situations beyond their control, Lynch explores the unpleasant and grotesque realities hidden beneath the placid surface of everyday existence. He adopts an intuitive, surrealist approach to present viewers with images suggestive of sex, birth, and death—including womblike settings, phallic symbols, and mutilated bodies—while avoiding overt explanation. His best known works include Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), and the critically acclaimed television series Twin Peaks (1990-91).
Lynch was born January 20, 1946, in Missoula, Montana. His father was a scientist who worked in the United States Department of Agriculture, conducting forestry research. When he was fifteen, Lynch moved with his family to Alexandria, Virginia, where he attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Boston Museum School. From 1965 to 1969, he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. While studying in Philadelphia, Lynch made his first film, Six Men Getting Sick (1966), a repeating loop in which the heads of six different figures vomit and then burst into flames. Lynch was later awarded a $5,000 grant from the American Film Institute that enabled him to produce a half-hour film, The Grandmother (1970), which combined animation with live action. The Grandmother received several awards at film festivals, including the special jury prize from the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival. In 1970 Lynch enrolled in the Center for Advanced Studies of the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, California. During this period, he began work on his first feature-length film, Eraserhead. The film was funded primarily by the American Film Institute and actress Sissy Spacek and took five years to produce. To support himself while filming, Lynch held a variety of jobs, including delivering newspapers, and often lived on the set of the film. Eraserhead became a cult success after its release and Lynch was hired to direct his first major Hollywood production, The Elephant Man (1980). The Elephant Man received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best director, best picture, and best adapted screenplay. The British Film Academy awarded The Elephant Man a British Academy Award for best film in 1980. Lynch was nominated for an Academy Award for best director for Blue Velvet in 1987. His 1990 film Wild at Heart received the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Lynch's film Mulholland Drive (2001) earned him an Academy Award nomination for best director and won him the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival. Among his other projects, Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti co-wrote Industrial Symphony No. 1, an experimental theater piece that was released on videotape in 1990. In addition, Lynch's still photography and mixed-media artwork have been exhibited in major cities and collected in the book Images (1994). Lynch has also composed the lyrics for a number of the songs used in his films and has appeared as an actor in several productions, most notably as the recurring character Gordon Cole in Twin Peaks.
Lynch's first feature-length film, Eraserhead is shot in murky, black-and-white tones and is set in an industrial wasteland. The film revolves around Henry, a modern Everyman who agrees to wed his girlfriend, Mary, when he discovers she has become pregnant. Their baby, born prematurely, is a squalling, alien creature resembling a skinless animal, its organs bundled together by strips of bandages. Mary, unable to withstand the constant crying of the infant-creature, abandons Henry, leaving him to care for their offspring on his own. In desperation, Henry cuts open the bandages in which the baby is wrapped and the child explodes like a bomb. Henry then retreats back to his apartment and loses himself in the comforting world he imagines behind his radiator. The Elephant Man is set largely in Victorian London and is based on the true story of John Merrick, a victim of what is today believed to have been neurofibromatosis, a rare disease of the central nervous system that causes the formation of thick, fibrous tissue beneath its victim's skin. In the film, a physician named Frederick Treves discovers John Merrick in a traveling side-show of “freaks.” Treves rescues Merrick from his squalid conditions and presents him as a medical anomaly before an audience of physicians. Treves befriends Merrick and is amazed at how intelligent, gentle, and utterly lacking in bitterness Merrick is, despite his physical deformities. In 1984 Lynch directed Dune, an expensive Hollywood epic based on the best-selling science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. The story is set on a barren desert planet where a precious spice known as “mélange” is the source of an interplanetary war. Lynch's next film, Blue Velvet, is considered to be his masterpiece by several critics. The film is a modern day film noir, set in the Northwestern town of Lumberton. Blue Velvet focuses on Jeffrey Beaumont, a young college student who returns home to care for his ailing father and finds a severed ear in a vacant lot near his house. He begins investigating where the ear could have come from and is eventually led to Frank Booth, a sadistic drug dealer who has kidnapped the husband and son of a local nightclub singer named Dorothy Valens, in order to force Dorothy to perform bizarre and fetishistic sexual acts. Jeffrey becomes Dorothy's sympathetic lover, but one night he ambivalently indulges her masochistic desire to be hit; following a brutal confrontation with Frank, he is forced to acknowledge his own guilt for victimizing Dorothy. Wild at Heart is a black comedy road movie based on the novel by Barry Gifford. The film revolves around Lula, a sexually aggressive young woman whose mother orders the contract killing of her boyfriend, Sailor, because he may have witnessed the murder of Lula's father. Sailor, who strives to look, sing, and behave like singer Elvis Presley, decides to violate his parole and flee to California with Lula. The film features a wealth of imagery from the film The Wizard of Oz, including a scene where Lula's mother appears as the Wicked Witch of the West, riding her broomstick alongside the road.
After spending almost three decades as a professional filmmaker, Lynch chose to work in television in 1990 and—in collaboration with Mark Frost— created a thirty-part television series called Twin Peaks. Lynch wrote and directed several episodes of the series and served as a producer and creative consultant throughout the show's run. Named for its small-town setting, Twin Peaks makes use of multiple characters involved in continuous betrayals, secrets, mysteries, and conspiracies. Early episodes focus upon the efforts of Special Agent Dale Cooper, an eccentric boyish hero sent to Twin Peaks by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, to aid local law enforcement in locating the murderer of Laura Palmer, a popular homecoming queen with a suspicious past. Adultery, drugs, mystic visions, and the supernatural all figure into the serial narrative, which also features puns and non sequiturs, situation comedy, and a cast of eccentric characters, including the Log Lady, a widow who talks to a seemingly prescient log she carries with her. The series was cancelled after two seasons, but Lynch continued the Laura Palmer mystery in his feature-film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). Lynch's next film, Lost Highway (1997), once again shows the influence of the film noir genre. The film has been noted for its rejection of conventional storytelling techniques, as evidenced by the protagonist metamorphosing into another character halfway through the film. In the first half of Lost Highway, Fred Madison, a saxophone player, finds a videotape that implicates him in the murder of his wife. Fred attempts to solve the crime but is eventually apprehended by the police as their prime suspect. While in jail, Fred “changes” into Pete Dayton, a young auto mechanic who is having an affair with the girlfriend of a gangster. The Straight Story (1999) represents a radical departure in style for Lynch. The film has a traditional linear narrative, there is no sexual or surrealistic imagery, and the film received a “G” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America—a rating typically reserved for children's films. The Straight Story is based on the true story of Alvin Straight, an Iowa man in his seventies. Alvin learns that his long-estranged brother is dying and decides to visit him to repair their relationship. Because Alvin cannot drive a car, he decides to drive his riding lawnmower over three hundred miles to his brother's home in Wisconsin. During his trip, which takes several weeks, Alvin encounters a variety of Midwestern characters, most of whom are eager to aid him in his journey. Marking a return to Lynch's signature film style, Mulholland Drive was originally produced as a pilot for a television series. After the network rejected the pilot, Lynch obtained funding to add another forty-five minutes to the original version and released it as a feature film. The plot of the film—named after a hilltop road that runs through Los Angeles—follows a young woman who survives a violent car crash but loses her memory. She eventually takes the name Rita, after actress Rita Hayworth in the film Gilda. Rita meets Betty, a young woman from Canada who has come to Los Angeles with the hope of becoming a film star. Together, Rita and Betty attempt to solve the mystery of Rita's true identity. The plot of Mulholland Drive is narrated as a dream which deviates from conventional expectations of narrative coherence and plot resolution. Like Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive features characters who switch identities or assume double identities throughout the film.
Though Eraserhead opened to scathing reviews and ambivalent audiences, it eventually became a cult favorite and critics have compared it to the surrealist films of Luis Buñuel, most notably Un Chien Andalou. Reviewers have been divided on Lynch's cinematic treatment of John Merrick's physical deformities in The Elephant Man. While some critics have commended the emotional elements of Merrick's story, others have criticized Lynch for exploiting the sensational elements of his subject matter. Dune was both a critical and commercial failure—a number of reviewers have criticized the length and lack of suspense in the film. Opening to critical acclaim and box-office success, Blue Velvet has been praised by several critics as Lynch's best film to date. Critics have admired the film's bold neo-noir cinematic style, especially its use of highly saturated colors to create a surreal atmosphere. Blue Velvet has been considered to be highly controversial by some, due to its graphic display of sex and violence towards women. Commentators have debated whether Lynch's portrayal of sexual violence was gratuitous and exploitative or intentionally shocking in order to provide an alternative perspective to the emotionally distant violence portrayed in many mainstream films. Twin Peaks has received widespread critical acclaim and held a large audience during its first season. Reviewers have praised the series' effective combination of a conventional detective story with quirky humor and pathos. Feminist critics have debated whether Lynch's treatment of Laura Palmer's sexual abuse exploited women or expressed a feminist perspective on family violence. Much of the critical response to Lost Highway has revolved around its unconventional narrative structure and the inexplicable transformation of the central protagonist halfway through the film. Critics have variously defended Lost Highway, with some arguing that the film's narrative is based on a dreamlike framework. The Straight Story has received a mixed critical response with some reviewers complaining that the film was too blandly sweet and sentimental. A number of critics have disagreed with this assessment and have praised Lynch for constructing his most fully realized and skillfully constructed narrative yet. Commentators have often compared Mulholland Drive to Lost Highway, noting that both films are structured around dreamlike sequences and recurring visual motifs rather than following a traditional storyline. Many critics have found the absence of closure in Mulholland Drive to be disappointing, revealing an overall lack of meaning and substance in the film.
Six Men Getting Sick [director] (short film) 1966
The Alphabet [screenwriter and director] (short film) 1968
The Grandmother [screenwriter and director] (short film) 1970
Eraserhead [screenwriter and director] (film) 1977
The Elephant Man [screenwriter with Eric Bergren and Christopher DeVore; director] (film) 1980
*Dune [screenwriter and director] (film) 1984
Blue Velvet [screenwriter and director] (film) 1986
The Cowboy and the Frenchman [screenwriter and director] (short film) 1989
†Twin Peaks (television series) 1990-91
‡Wild at Heart [screenwriter and director] (film) 1990
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me [screenwriter with Robert Engels; director] (film) 1992
Lost Highway [screenwriter with Barry Gifford; director] (film) 1997
Lynch on Lynch [edited by Chris Rodley] (interviews) 1997
The Straight Story [director] (film) 1999
Mulholland Drive [screenwriter and director] (film) 2001
*The screenplay was based on the novel by Frank Herbert.
†Lynch served as the creator and producer of the series with Mark Frost. He also wrote and directed several episodes over...
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SOURCE: Champlin, Charles. “Portrait of the Monster as a Human Being.” Los Angeles Times (28 September 1980): 34.
[In the following review, Champlin argues that The Elephant Man presents a story of human compassion and avoids the subject's potential for exploitation.]
“There stood revealed,” Sir Frederick Treves wrote later, “the most disgusting specimen of humanity that I have, ever seen … From the brow there projected a huge bony mass like a loaf, while from the back of the head hung a bag of spongy, fungous-looking skin. …”
Another bony mass protruded from his mouth like a half-swallowed stake, making speech almost impossible. His nose was a blob of flesh. He was misshapen, draped in evil-smelling folds of purplish skin. His right arm was gigantic and useless, ending in a finlike deformity.
The skin and the protruding brow gave him his catch-name: the Elephant Man. His real name was John Merrick; he was evidently from Leicester in the English Midlands and he was 21 when Treves, a young London surgeon and anatomist, paid a shilling to see him exhibited as a freak in a London sidestreet in 1884.
A century later, John Merrick has come back to haunt the popular imagination, first in a long-running London and Broadway play, and now in this brilliantly operatic film—directed by David Lynch from the script he adapted from an...
(The entire section is 1581 words.)
SOURCE: Sterritt, David. “Undaunted Moral Strength—The Elephant Man's Story.” Christian Science Monitor 72, no. 223 (9 October 1980): 18.
[In the following review, Sterritt praises Lynch for his bold cinematic style in The Elephant Man, observing that the film expresses faith in “the ultimate goodness of mankind.”]
The story of The Elephant Man has become a modern myth. Books have been written about him, he is the subject of a long-running Broadway hit, and now a new movie [The Elephant Man] tells his history.
Does all this interest amount to a positive sign of the times? I think so. Despite the sad underpinnings of the tale, its message is optimistic and charged with faith in the ultimate goodness of mankind. Who was the elephant man, after all, but a person whose moral strength reundaunted no matter how difficult his physical circumstances became?
The actual elephant man was John Merrick, a handicapped English-man born in 1864. As a child, he spent years in the workhouse. Later, unable to function in ordinary society because of his appearance, he eked out an existence being exhibited by showmen (whence came his flamboyant nickname). Just when things seemed most miserable, he was befriended by a London physician named Frederick Treves, who took him in and sheltered him. During the rest of his short life he became a fashionable figure, visited...
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SOURCE: Coleman, John. “Monstrous.” New Statesman 100, no. 2586 (10 October 1980): 25-6.
[In the following review, Coleman characterizes The Elephant Man as a sensational film that exploits the “horror film potential” of its subject matter.]
It was David Lynch who made the squalid and diseased fantasy Eraserhead in 1976 and the first difficulty in dealing candidly with his The Elephant Man is exactly that knowledge. Had I seen the new film unascribed would I have felt the same initial unease, verging on queasiness, during its portentous opening sequences, which offer trumpeting pachyderms on the move, a woman's face, a form of mushroom cloud (the birth, or death, of creation?), cutting in to the surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) as he proceeds down canvas corridors towards a freak show?
Freddie Francis's black-and-white photography is generally pretty stunning, but one recalls that he has latterly been associated with horror movies; and there is considerable ambiguity in the way we are kept waiting, hanging on for our first full-frontal look at the grossly deformed head of John (actually Joseph) Merrick, unhappy victim of multiple neurofibromatosis. We see tears in Treves's eyes at the private viewing he has bribed the scoundrelly Bytes (Freddie Jones, camping for evil) to allow him. We see a shambling fellow, with the sack masking his face...
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SOURCE: Baker, Henry. Review of The Elephant Man, by David Lynch. Cineaste 11, no. 2 (spring 1981): 28-9.
[In the following review, Baker praises The Elephant Man as “a grim fairy tale,” applauding the film's black-and-white cinematography and the visual depth of its subject matter.]
David Lynch's extraordinary film, The Elephant Man, begins with a dream vision of a beautiful woman, and then plunges us into a nightmare—the loud, steady beats of elephant feet, the approach of the herd, and the woman, struck down by one of them, writhing in pain. The sequence ends with a rising cloud of vapor and the sound of a baby crying. Lynch conjures up a world of imagination; he is bringing the Elephant Man to us through the combination of primal feelings and cinematic sorcery.
The flash of a magician's fire ends the dream and introduces the more recognizable world of a Victorian London side show. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), a doctor at the London Hospital, follows policemen into the Freak Show exhibit, only to find one of its attractions, “The Elephant Man,” being closed down by local councilmen and police. “Freaks are one thing, but this is monstrous!” the huffy official says to the owner of the exhibit, Bytes (Freddie Jones). Intrigued, Treves later finds his way through the slums of London's Whitechapel district to Bytes, and requests a private showing....
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SOURCE: Wilmington, Michael. “Dune Is Slow Going but Apt to Stick in the Mind.” Los Angeles Times (14 December 1984): section 6, p. 8.
[In the following review, Wilmington assesses Lynch's use of dark, obsessive, and bizarre visual imagery in Dune, noting that the film as a whole is not necessarily successful.]
The multimillion-dollar adaptation of Frank Herbert's best-selling science-fiction novel, Dune with its evocative and densely detailed vision of a desert planet where mammoth worms capable of swallowing whole express trains burrow through the sand, is one of the year's most peculiar films. It's cold, strange and remote. It's lit in such dark tones that, watching it, we often seem to be wandering through some vast, echoing mausoleum. It unfolds at a measured, lugubrious, almost maddening pace. And Herbert's byzantine plot is ruthlessly condensed and shoe-horned into a 140-minute running time that seems barely adequate.
Yet [Dune], opening citywide today, is also packed with sometimes spellbinding, sometimes splendiferous, always bizarre imagery. If it fails—and certainly it fails as the Star Wars-style comic-book extravaganza those only vaguely familiar with the novel may expect—it's at least one of those memorable, spectacular failures that stick in your mind obsessively.
Dune, or Arrakis, is a planet composed almost...
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SOURCE: O'Brien, Tom. Review of Dune, by David Lynch. Commonweal 112, no. 1 (11 January 1985): 18.
[In the following excerpt, O'Brien criticizes Dune, describing the film as unoriginal and meaningless.]
Dune and Starman—two … big budget sci-fi films—provide major disappointments. Dune is pseudo-inventive; despite all its arcana it is basically nothing more than an old shoot-'em-up-plus-adolescent-rite-of-passage in outer space. Of course I must confess a prejudice: Dune is faithful to its source, Frank Herbert's 1965 “classic” novel that became a big hit in some quarters, a book I detested for its freakish gobbledygook and spurious spirituality. Basically, Herbert's strategy, imitated by Dune's director David Lynch, is to hide a paucity of real invention behind a multiplicity of mumbo jumbo. Lynch formerly made Elephant Man and Eraserhead; in Dune he pursues the monstrous with a ghoulish revamping of Star Wars. The shoot-'em-up, for example, pits a hero named Paul Atreides (for epic's sake), in the “Luke Skywalker” role, against some boil-covered villains and their punk rock henchman. The two sides contest ownership of a desert planet whose arid soil contains “mélange,” a super potent spice containing the secrets of life and that sort of thing. Mining the spice provokes the appearance of Dune's only...
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SOURCE: Bundtzen, Lynda K. “‘Don't Look at Me!’: Woman's Body, Woman's Voice in Blue Velvet.” Western Humanities Review 42, no. 3 (autumn 1988): 187-203.
[In the following essay, Bundtzen examines Blue Velvet from a feminist and psychoanalytic perspective, challenging some of the methodologies’ assumptions.]
… woman as representation signifies castration, inducing voyeuristic or fetishistic mechanisms to circumvent her threat. None of these interacting layers is intrinsic to film, but it is only in the film form that they can reach a perfect and beautiful contradiction, thanks to the possibility in the cinema of shifting the emphasis of the look. It is the place of the look that defines cinema, the possibility of varying it and exposing it.
—Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
David Lynch's Blue Velvet provides a feminist and psychoanalytic film criticism with a rare opportunity to test many of its assumptions. The character of Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) bears the burden of male desire in Blue Velvet, whether coerced by Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) to enact his sadistic fantasies, or soliciting from Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle McLachlan) a violence that comes to represent male sexuality. She is quite literally the object of the male gaze, warned repeatedly by Frank,...
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SOURCE: McKinney, Devin. Review of Wild at Heart, by David Lynch. Film Quarterly 45, no. 2 (winter 1991-1992): 41-6.
[In the following essay, McKinney discusses the excesses and graphic violence of Wild at Heart, contending that Lynch intentionally subordinated conventional narrative expectations to the power of recurring visual motifs.]
Apparently, no one ever instructed David Lynch in the rules that govern what a work of art should be—the forms it should take, the boundaries it should honor—let alone the accepted truisms on what a modern audience expects in return for its admission. But through a serendipitous (and fairly mystifying) configuration of the Zeitgeist, Lynch has emerged as one of the few American directors with the popular sanction to do what he pleases. Despite his sudden celebrity, though, he remains oblivious to both critical and commercial commonplaces. We should be grateful for such intractability. For without it no filmmaker would have had the nerve to put something as unremittingly sordid and black and plain messy as Wild at Heart on the screen, and that would be a loss. Lynch's latest production is an ugly/beautiful epic of conspicuous excess, a work whose excitement—like that of Picasso's Guernica or the Beatles' White Album—is tied in with its inability to control itself. The film pops the seams of a threadbare plot with the kind of...
(The entire section is 3433 words.)
SOURCE: Romney, Jonathan. “Nothing to Declare.” New Statesman & Society 5, no. 229 (20 November 1992): 33-4.
[In the following excerpt, Romney criticizes Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as having nothing new or original to offer its audience.]
David Lynch's long-awaited Twin Peaks film would have provided the ideal opportunity to mull over, for one last time, cinema's obsession with America's dark underbelly. The Twin Peaks TV series was the last word in the suburban surreal, which had already received its definitive expression in Blue Velvet. But that once-disturbing genre has become so thoroughly domesticated that it now provides the premise for American prime-time fodder like Eerie Indiana, in which two boys discover their hometown is the centre for all earthly weirdness, and a new series knowingly entitled Picket Fences. …
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me exudes the strangeness of exhaustion. Exhaustion dictates its pace and its imagination. Its business is filling in gaps once everything has been said, milking something new from a series even devotees felt had run its course.
This is a prequel, explaining the fate of Laura Palmer, whose murder by her demonic daddy we already know about. It's a mystery story in which there's neither mystery nor solution: a total dead end. And the film's fascination lies in the...
(The entire section is 644 words.)
SOURCE: Nochimson, Martha. “Desire under the Douglas Firs: Entering the Body of Reality in Twin Peaks.” Film Quarterly 46, no. 2 (winter 1992-1993): 22-34.
[In the following essay, Nochimson discusses the character of Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks, asserting that Cooper represents a new kind of movie and television detective.]
The dazzled affection that Dale Cooper, hero of Twin Peaks, inspired in a large television spectatorship can only partly be explained by the appeal of actor Kyle MacLachlan. Nor can it be ascribed merely to the time-tested popularity of the detective figure; on the contrary, Cooper lays waste to a multitude of film and television detective clichés. Since his creators came to the series with distinguished careers in each of the major media, David Lynch and MacLachlan himself in film and Mark Frost in television, some inventive synthesis between the traditions was expected, but Dale Cooper is more than a little juggling of two formulas. “Coop” wears the regulation suit and trench coat but sets a fresh and compelling standard for media detectives and opens a new chapter in the relationship between mystery and desire.
Cooper's eager desire to enter the labyrinths of mystery ties knots in the venerable Hollywood Mystery Tradition (HMT), although the overall narrative line of the series initially suggests that Lynch has brought that tradition...
(The entire section is 7670 words.)
SOURCE: “Heaven Knows, Mr. Lynch: Beatitudes from the Deacon of Distress.” Film Comment 29, no. 3 (May-June 1993): 43-6.
[In the following essay, Olson discusses Lynch's spiritual vision in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.]
A few minutes into David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, loud-talking, dual hearing aid-wearing FBI chief Gordon Cole, played by the director himself, gives Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) and his assistant Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) a briefing on their new case. Cole doesn't verbalize information to Desmond—he has him stare at Lil, a gawky, pinch-faced woman in a red dress who makes odd, dancelike motions. Without explanation, Cole then bids his men a hearty “GOOD LUCK!” and sends them out to investigate the brutal murder of a young woman in Washington state.
The less experienced Stanley is puzzled by Lil's performance, but the seasoned Desmond helps him read her messages. Lil's sour face means there'll be trouble with the local authorities; her fist shows they'll be belligerent. Lil's other hand in her pocket says the authorities are hiding something; her walking in place means the case will entail lots of legwork; her altered dress shows that the investigation involves drugs. But, Stanley wonders, what about the blue rose pinned to Lil's lapel? Desmond replies, “I can't tell you about that.”
The director, and his...
(The entire section is 2707 words.)
SOURCE: Davenport, Randi. “The Knowing Spectator of Twin Peaks: Culture, Feminism, and Family Violence.” Literature Film Quarterly 21, no. 4 (October 1993): 255-59.
[In the following essay, Davenport discusses the representations of sexual abuse and violence against women in the television series Twin Peaks, arguing that Lynch's portrayal of family violence reflects a feminist bias.]
Twin Peaks is unusual in that it participates in recent public conversations about the effects of child sexual abuse, the victimization of the daughter, and the culpability of the adult male aggressor. I would like to suggest that in its exploration of the behavior of abusive men and the damage suffered by their victims, Twin Peaks is informed by, rather than at odds with, recent feminist discussions about sexual violence. Indeed, the series exposes the regularity with which women find themselves victimized by men.
By sympathetically focusing its audience's attention on the sexual victimization of women, Twin Peaks demands that its audience understand not just that sexual violence occurs, but that our culture tolerates a range of practices that serve to authorize violence against women.
Those who turned the series off because they were made uneasy by the incest, the wife battering and the pornographic pages of Flesh World have said they turned...
(The entire section is 2363 words.)
SOURCE: Ledwon, Lenora. “Twin Peaks and the Television Gothic.” Literature Film Quarterly 21, no. 4 (October 1993): 260-70.
[In the following essay, Ledwon examines Lynch's use of and innovations on conventional Gothic themes and motifs in Twin Peaks.]
I am inhabited by a cry. Nightly it flaps out Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.
Sylvia Plath, “Elm”
The twentieth century has proven congenial to the Gothic. Gothic literature and film attest to the continuing vitality of the genre. Examples of today's popular Gothic include such works as Stephen King's The Shining with its Gothicized haunted hotel, modern Gothic romances and Harlequin clones whose covers feature persecuted maidens in the shadow of gloomy mansions, and horror films as diverse as Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, and the perennial remake of Dracula. However, while many scholars and critics have addressed the use of Gothic elements in literature and film, the field of the Television Gothic has yet to be explored in any detail.1 This is despite the fact that television would seem an ideal medium for Gothic inquiry. It is, after all, a mysterious box simultaneously inhabited by spirit images of ourselves and inhabiting our living rooms.
In fact, television has aired its fair share of programs with Gothic...
(The entire section is 6646 words.)
SOURCE: Birns, Nicholas. “Telling Inside from Outside, or, Who Really Killed Laura Palmer.” Literature Film Quarterly 21, no. 4 (October 1993): 277-86.
[In the following essay, Birns asserts that the television series Twin Peaks combines postmodern elements of self-referentiality with Romantic elements of heightened emotional affect.]
The question of “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” received its determinate answer on November 10, 1990. But this does not mean that the question has been fully decided. Indeed, much of the force and interest of the mystery in the first place proceeded from the inherently undecidable fashion in which the series posed the question.
There was a primary, very dramatic ambiguity in the way the question was overtly answered. In the classic style of the romantic doppelgänger, Laura's killer, although utilizing the form of Leland Palmer, seemed to in fact have had an entirely separate identity, the psychotic “BOB.”1 The show maintained interest in what is basically a received convention by the rigor with which it held out the possibility of both a natural and supernatural solution. As the appropriately initialed Thomas Pynchon put it at the close of The Crying of Lot 49, “Either you have stumbled indeed … onto a secret richness and density of dream … or you are hallucinating it.” Twin Peaks explored the...
(The entire section is 6277 words.)
SOURCE: Kaleta, Kenneth C. “Early Lynch—Eraserhead.” In David Lynch, pp. 1-30. New York: Twayne, 1993.
[In the following essay, Kaleta discusses the themes, style, and main metaphors of Lynch's early short films that culminate with his first feature-length film Eraserhead.]
Suppose yourself in a large cinema, sitting at first in the back row, and gradually moving up … until your nose is almost pressed against the screen. Gradually the stars' faces dissolve into dancing grain; tiny details assume grotesque proportions … it becomes clear that the illusion itself is reality.
David Keith Lynch seems to have been the all-American Boy. He was born in Missoula, Montana, 20 January 1946. Lynch remembers a rural childhood: “My father was a research scientist for the Department of Agriculture in Washington. We were in the woods all the time. I'd sorta had enough of the woods by the time I left, but still, lumber and lumberjacks, all this kinda thing, that's America to me.”1 Lynch grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in small towns in Montana, Idaho, and Washington and lived for a time in North Carolina. The first of three children, he was a Boy Scout and an usher at John F. Kennedy's presidential inauguration.
During his high-school years “he ran for class treasurer; his...
(The entire section is 11944 words.)
SOURCE: Hendershot, Cyndy. “Postmodern Allegory and David Lynch's Wild at Heart.” Critical Arts 9, no. 1 (1995): 5-20.
[In the following essay, Hendershot defines postmodern allegory within the context of Wild at Heart.]
In Postmodernist Fiction Brian McHale discusses the resurgence of the allegorical mode in the postmodern era, a resurgence in both critical analysis of the mode and artistic practice of it1. Maureen Quilligan sees the postmodern and allegorical linked so closely as to assert that “we seem in the last quarter of the twentieth century to have reentered an allegorical age”2. Many critics see postmodern allegory as revealing our historical situation and subjectivities to us. Bainard Cowan asserts that allegory “discloses the truth of the world” by presenting our world and our subjectivities as systems of signs rather than as systems motivated by a transcendental signified3. A dark cloud, as it were, hovers over postmodernism's appropriation of the allegorical mode. Fredric Jameson and Jamesonian critics read postmodernism's appropriation of allegory as one of its means of averting history, of burying the past under the sign. This debate between those who view postmodern allegory as revealing the systems which make up our cultural world and those who view postmodern allegory as concealing those same systems is one of the major...
(The entire section is 5727 words.)
SOURCE: George, Diana Hume. “Lynching Women: A Feminist Reading of Twin Peaks.” In Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks, edited by David Lavery, pp. 109-19. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995.
[In the following essay, George provides a feminist analysis of the representation of violence against women in the television series Twin Peaks.]
Should I call this a double-breasted approach? Laura Palmer had a double, so that's at least four breasts, but the show fairly crawled with creepy sex and grand tetons. They didn't eat with forks—the brothers with the yuppie ice cream names were devotees of primary process. Everything longer than it was wide was phallic in the surreal Lynchscape. Who but Lynch could give saddle shoes the impact of spiked heels? And father-daughter incest was definitely in. Should we really have eaten all that luscious Frosting on the cake baked by the Lynchmob?
My reading doesn't come from outside the circle of aficionados. I was instantly hooked on Twin Peaks. I lived for Thursday night, taped the episodes for repeated frissons. I must have listened to the sound the dwarf makes with his body at the start of the dream sequence at least a dozen times, trying to figure out if it was the flap of bird wings. I had a Twin Peaks dinner for the last segment and a repeat marathon party. I dissected each episode on Friday...
(The entire section is 5168 words.)
SOURCE: Lynch, David, and Psychology Today. “Naked Lynch.” Psychology Today 30, no. 2 (March-April 1997): 29-33, 74.
[In the following interview, Lynch discusses Lost Highway and his creative process.]
Famous for evoking the eerie undertow of everyday life, David Lynch—the director whose films include Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and who created the television show Twin Peaks—fearlessly projects his own psyche onto the screen. But the man with the eccentric sensibility says we shouldn't read anything into the fact that in his latest effort, Lost Highway, he takes on the meaning of identity.
[Psychology Today]:Do you think there's a dividing line between the people who get what you do, and the people who have a harder time?
[Lynch]: I think people think they have a hard time, but it's because—and this is a very general statement—most films are pretty easily understood. So [our] mechanism for interpretation is dulled a bit. But life is filled with mysteries, and symbols, and clues, and we all seem to get it in one way or another, one level or another. So films that allow you to dream or to have different interpretations are, for me, what it's about. The power of cinema is that it can show abstractions and things that exist down inside of us.
You say there aren't answers for...
(The entire section is 2419 words.)
SOURCE: Warner, Marina. “Voodoo Road.” Sight and Sound 7, no. 8 (August 1997): 6, 8, 10.
[In the following review, Warner examines the doppelgänger motif of Lost Highway as a metaphor for identity crisis in the modern world, but concludes that Lynch's treatment of this theme is ultimately lacking in substance.]
The plot of Lost Highway binds time's arrow into time's loop, forcing Euclidian space into Einsteinian curves where events lapse and pulse at different rates and everything might return eternally. Its first and last shots are the same—the yellow markings of a straight desert road familiar from a thousand movies scrolling down as the camera speeds along low on the ground to the pounding soundtrack. But this linearity is all illusion, almost buoyantly ironic, for you can enter the story at any point and the straight road you're travelling down will unaccountably turn back on itself and bring you back to where you started. That emblem of pioneer America, the road ahead, that track to the future, collapses here into a changeling tale, in which contemporary phantasms about identity loss and multiple personality, about recovered memory, spirit doubles, even alien abduction, all unseat the guy in the driver's seat and lay bare his illusion of control. The film is made like a Moebius strip, with only one surface but two edges: the narrative goes round and round meeting itself, but the...
(The entire section is 2916 words.)
SOURCE: Newman, Kim. Review of Lost Highway, by David Lynch. Sight and Sound 7, no. 9 (September 1997): 48-9.
[In the following review, Newman assesses Lost Highway as a “noir horror film.”]
Los Angeles. Saxophonist Fred Madison discovers on his doorstep a videocassette of his house, shot from the outside. The next day, another videocassette includes footage of a track through his home, showing Fred asleep with his brunette wife Renee. The Madisons call the police, who have no explanation. Renee takes Fred to a party thrown by Andy, a shady character, and Fred is accosted by a mystery man, whose face he has glimpsed in the shadows. The mystery man claims to have met Fred at his house, and that he is there right now. He produces a mobile phone so that Fred can confirm this, by phoning home and talking to him. The next videotape shows Fred with the dismembered corpse of Renee. Convicted of his wife's murder, Fred suffers strange headaches and in prison transforms into another person entirely—a young mechanic named Pete Dayton.
The authorities return Pete to the charge of his parents, and Pete picks up his life, doing work for his gangster patron, Mr Eddy. Mr Eddy's mistress, Alice Wakefield—a blonde incarnation of Renee—begins an affair with Pete. Alice talks him into robbing Andy, an associate of Mr Eddy's who lured her into prostitution and working in...
(The entire section is 1437 words.)
SOURCE: Rhodes, Eric Bryant. Review of Lost Highway, by David Lynch. Film Quarterly 51, no. 3 (spring 1998): 57-61.
[In the following review, Rhodes asserts that Lost Highway's narrative is based on a theme-and-variation structure in which recurrent visual and thematic motifs take precedence over conventional narrative coherence.]
The ever quotable pop artist and underground filmmaker Andy Warhol reportedly stated that films are “better talked about than seen.” With his latest film adventure, Lost Highway, David Lynch has given audiences a complex and perplexing story to ponder and some astonishingly brilliant images to enjoy. Yet the majority of critical responses to Lynch's new horror noir have denounced the film's narrative as being interesting but impenetrably chaotic at best, and some have even gone as far as to call the film unwatchable. Even the cinephiles who have recognized the significant aesthetic achievements of Lynch's film have announced that he is unconcerned with narrative logic in Lost Highway Perhaps part of this critical response is due to a reluctance to embrace the robust eroticism and taste for violence displayed in Lynch's works. Lynch has ventured beyond linear film narratives and left incredulous critics and puzzled onlookers muttering that either his picture is obscure by accident or that he is engaged in some frivolous form of cinematic...
(The entire section is 3250 words.)
SOURCE: Sterritt, David. “David Lynch Plays It Straight.” Christian Science Monitor (15 October 1999): 15.
[In the following review, Sterritt comments on the dark undertones beneath the superficial sweetness of The Straight Story.]
Starting today, the biggest surprise of this year's Cannes film festival will be stirring up talk in theaters. David Lynch, known for ultraviolent movies like Blue Velvet and surreal TV fare like Twin Peaks, has found still another way to give audiences a jolt of astonishment: He's made a G-rated picture for the Walt Disney Company, spinning a tale so kind and gentle that it makes his previous career seem like a brilliantly filmed nightmare from which he's finally awakened.
In short, The Straight Story is a major turnaround from a filmmaker who has earned international acclaim as a chronicler of dark, disturbing dreams. But has this hugely original artist really changed course as abruptly as it appears? Or has he simply found a new vocabulary to express his longtime taste for extremes—directing a picture that's radically sweet, daringly goodhearted, humane, and compassionate to the point of extravagance?
Based on real events, The Straight Story centers on an ornery old man named Alvin Straight, played by Richard Farnsworth in a performance that should loom very large when Oscar time rolls around....
(The entire section is 731 words.)
SOURCE: Kauffmann, Stanley. “Character as Destiny.” New Republic (15 November 1999): 28.
[In the following review, Kauffmann praises The Straight Story as “a small epic” that embodies the American ideal of rugged individualism.]
The viewer need not know David Lynch's reputation before seeing The Straight Story, but it helps. Here is a writer-director celebrated for his eccentricities, his disregard for convention, in such works as Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, who has done a picture released by Disney, a picture based on the true story of an old man making a sentimental journey. Anyone ignorant of Lynch who sees The Straight Story will need an extra mite of patience to allow its beauty to unfold; others will be curious from the start about why this unconventional filmmaker chose this material, and that curiosity will speed up the unfolding.
The title is not really a pun: it simply uses a fact with a smile. This is a story about a man named Straight. In 1994 Alvin Straight, a seventy-four-year-old resident of Laurens, Iowa, traveled eastward across the state to visit his brother, Lyle, in Mount Zion, Minnesota. Lyle had suffered a stroke. Alvin wanted to see him before both of them passed on. He wanted to patch up relations with Lyle, whom he loved but with whom he had quarreled badly. Alvin was too infirm to drive a car, so he made the long trip...
(The entire section is 1076 words.)
SOURCE: Jackson, Kevin. Review of Straight Story, by David Lynch. Sight and Sound 9, no. 12 (December 1999): 57-8.
[In the following review, Jackson characterizes The Straight Story as blandly sweet.]
Laurens, Iowa, 1994. [In The Straight Story,] Alvin Straight, a stubborn 73-year-old widower who lives with his adult daughter Rose, suffers a bad fall and is sent to the local clinic. The doctor warns him he is in dangerously poor health and needs to take better care of himself, but Alvin shows little sign of mending his ways. Rose takes a phone call and learns Alvin's estranged older brother Lyle has had a stroke. Despite Rose's warnings and the incredulity of his fellow townspeople, Alvin is determined to travel to Lyle's home in Mt. Zion, Wisconsin, and try to patch up their ancient quarrel—by an idiosyncratic means of transport: a motor-driven lawnmower.
On his slow and often interrupted chug to Wisconsin, Alvin meets and befriends a variety of people, including coach tourists heading for a grotto; a pregnant teenage runaway; a woman whose daily commute to work usually involves crashing into and killing deer; volunteer firefighters; a generous family who allow him to live in their garden while his lawnmower is being repaired by identical-twin mechanics who constantly bicker with each other; a World War II veteran with whom Alvin shares anguished memories of...
(The entire section is 830 words.)
SOURCE: Tayler, Chris. “Life in the Slow Lane.” Times Literary Supplement, no. 5046 (17 December 1999): 17.
[In the following review, Tayler praises Lynch's restrained cinematic style in The Straight Story.]
David Lynch's new film, The Straight Story, is about a stubborn, laconic old widower who chooses to drive 300 miles on a lawnmower to visit his estranged and ailing brother. Sometimes charming and sometimes sentimental, it is an uncharacteristically restrained piece of filmmaking: quiet, autumnal and, above all, slow. Not that it is unclear whose work we are watching; during The Straight Story, we are shown such Lynch-film staples as wood being sawn, machinery hulking and humming, an obese woman, and a house on fire. The director has famously made a career out of unsettling his audiences' expectations, and these references emphasize and make strange the determinedly “straight” mode of storytelling, as well as indicating that, as Walter Benjamin believed of Kafka, Lynch's “entire work constitutes a code of gestures which surely had no definite symbolic meaning for the author from the outset. …” The opening scene of The Straight Story, with the camera craning gently over small-town lawns to home in on a domestic accident, even reprises that of Lynch's masterpiece, Blue Velvet. But this serves only to announce the change of tone; here, water-sprinklers decorate...
(The entire section is 710 words.)
SOURCE: Simon, John. “Life in the Slow Lane.” National Review 52, no. 3 (21 February 2000): 59.
[In the following review, Simon praises The Straight Story for its gentle tone and refreshing simplicity, noting that despite its sentimentality, the film avoids becoming sappy.]
Alvin Straight is a nice old man living—we don't quite know off what—in Laurens, Iowa, with his daughter Rose, who talks haltingly and whose four children have been taken away from her because she is slightly retarded and because one of them was badly burned in a fire. Alvin says, “She is a little bit slow, but her mind is like a bear trap.” Laurens is a small town, and on the sunny day when The Straight Story begins, Main Street is deserted but for four dogs (not together) who bound across it in canine bliss.
Alvin has to be helped up from the floor of his shack by Rose, who finally manages to drag him off to a doctor. He is henceforth to use a walker, eat more judiciously, and stop smoking cigars. For the walker, he substitutes two canes; the rest he ignores. As he and Rose are watching a lightning storm, a phone call from someone informs Rose that Alvin's brother, Lyle, has had a stroke. Although they haven't spoken in ten years, Alvin resolves to visit Lyle in Mt. Zion, Wisconsin, a goodly distance away. His eyes do not permit him to drive a car, so he decides to travel by his lawn...
(The entire section is 757 words.)
SOURCE: Cardullo, Bert. “Getting Straight.” Hudson Review 53, no. 2 (summer 2000): 299-307.
[In the following essay, Cardullo praises The Straight Story for its restraint and serenity, asserting that it is one of the greatest films ever made.]
David Lynch, best known for exploring the darker recesses of the human psyche as well as the darker corners of the American landscape in such cult films as Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), and Twin Peaks (1992), has created an eloquently simple, representatively American, straightforwardly emotional, and extraordinarily moving picture titled The Straight Story (G-rated and released by Disney, no less). As for why he has turned to more “serene” material, Lynch's explanation rings as true as his latest film: “Sex, drugs, violence, and obscene language have been pushed to an absurd extreme, to the point where you don't feel anything anymore.” In other words, less is more, or restraint can produce its own form of artistic freedom. Lynch isn't sure that he will undertake another “experiment in purity” like The Straight Story, however. As he himself put it, “My sensibility was probably too warped at a young age for me to do more than dabble in the serene.” Nonetheless, he has so dabbled in this instance and in the process made not only his best film, but also the best American film since Sling...
(The entire section is 4682 words.)
SOURCE: Kreider, Tim. Review of The Straight Story, by David Lynch. Film Quarterly 54, no. 1 (fall 2000): 26-33.
[In the following review, Kreider asserts that, despite its superficial sweetness and light tone, The Straight Story reveals a dark undercurrent of alcoholism and family abuse.]
The Straight Story begins a lot like a David Lynch film, specifically like Blue Velvet: first we see a dreamy montage of slow-motion scenes from a small-town, middle-American Eden (cinematographer Freddie Francis filling in for Norman Rockwell and composer Angelo Badalamenti for Aaron Copland), and then the camera drifts down to a neatly mown suburban yard. A fat woman with goggles and a tanning reflector is sunning herself on a lawn chair, blindly groping for Hostess Sno-balls on a nearby plate—a characteristically Lynchian figure, the Felliniesque grotesque next door. Nothing happens for a Lynchianly long time. The woman runs out of Sno-balls and gets up to go in for more. Because we know we are watching a David Lynch film, there is a certain expectant air—that ominous, low-register thrum of imminent catastrophe. Then we hear a cry and thud from inside—recalling the stroke that felled Jeffrey Beaumont's father and began Blue Velvet's dark adventure. And then, this being a David Lynch film, we await our inevitable descent into the black and crawly underbelly of this overbright...
(The entire section is 5536 words.)
SOURCE: Jones, Kent. “Trading Faces.” Artforum International 40, no. 2 (October 2001): 36.
[In the following review, Jones praises Mulholland Drive for thematic focus on sexual abuse.]
That David Lynch is a genuine visionary may be indisputable, but he has often seemed like an artist with a set of primal obsessions in lieu of a subject. Compelled to plunge headlong into his darkest fears, Lynch has conjured up some of the most mesmerizing passages in American cinema. But the imbalance between the hallucinatory and the desultory has been a constant in Lynch's work—and a nagging source of frustration. It's easy to understand his artistic dilemma, though: Creating sequences of such uncanny power necessarily upsets the very idea of narrative or thematic resolution; those spellbinding intervals overwhelm not just the characters but the film itself.
With the unjustly maligned Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Lynch made a movie that was at once mind-bending and thematically focused. There was, at the core of that film, a sense of moral outrage over the reality of sexual abuse. In Mulholland Drive (which makes its US debut at the New York Film Festival this month), Lynch explores the same subject, with even greater force—only this time there are (perhaps) two women, and the abusive father is that pitiless dream machine called Hollywood.
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SOURCE: Lesser, Wendy. “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.” American Prospect 12, no. 20 (19 November 2001): 36-7.
[In the following review, Lesser argues that the lack of narrative closure in Mulholland Drive leaves the viewer disappointed.]
Many people will love Mulholland Drive, I am sure; and the fact that my admiration is mingled with profound annoyance perhaps says more about me than about the movie. It is David Lynch's best film since The Elephant Man (which remains, for me, the pinnacle of his achievement). It is better than the goofy Eraserhead and the creepy Blue Velvet, and far, far better than Lynch's terminally confused TV show Twin Peaks. It is so good that it raises unbelievably high expectations, which it then dashes to the ground in a display of bravura narcissism. “What? Me fulfill expectations? Who do you think I am?” it seems to say. Such behavior may be acceptable in a Quentin Tarantino or a Curtis Hanson or a Joel Coen; but in David Lynch, who is more talented than most of his peers combined, it is disappointing.
The movie is nearly two and a half hours long, and it is often deliberately slow, in the manner we have come to expect from Lynch (the unzipping of a purse, for instance, may take an agonizing five seconds—complete with an overly loud zipping noise set against suspenseful silence). But it is never...
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SOURCE: Fuller, Graham. “Babes in Babylon.” Sight and Sound 11, no. 12 (December 2001): 14, 16-17.
[In the following review, Fuller asserts that the narrative structure of Mulholland Drive follows “dream logic,” rather than the Hollywood narrative conventions.]
Mulholland Dr. unwinds in a benighted LA dream-scape where two girl detectives fall into lipstick-lesbian embraces, a Mafia power play is sublimated in a menacing Pinteresque discussion of an espresso's drinkability, smug studio types commingle with doo-wop-singing starlets, Sunset Boulevard riff-raff and the ghosts of Hollywood past, and shattered identities are mosaicked back together in an oneiromantic fable about Hollywood's conspiracy-riddled dream factory.
On its release in America in October, David Lynch's film, which is as perversely sadomasochistic as Josef von Sternberg's Dietrich farragoes and as lushly surreal as Raul Ruíz's early work, lured critics into oxymorons. The Village Voice's J. Hoberman described it as “thrilling and ludicrous,” the New York Times' Stephen Holden dubbed it “the grandest and silliest cinematic carnival to come along in some time.” And as if inspired by the moral reactionaries who savaged Michael Powell's masterpiece Peeping Tom, the New York Observer's Rex Reed unintentionally vindicated Lynch's film with the sheer uncomprehending...
(The entire section is 3180 words.)
SOURCE: Kerr, Philip. “LA Confident.” New Statesman 131, no. 4570 (14 January 2002): 44-5.
[In the following review, Kerr recommends Mulholland Drive as Lynch's “best and most erotic film since Blue Velvet.”]
Mulholland Drive is a road in Los Angeles that twists and turns for ten miles along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains, and connects the Encino Reservoir, made famous in Roman Polanski's Chinatown, with the Hollywood Hills, made famous by that eponymous, cliched and ultimately irrelevant hillside sign. Mulholland is quite a drive, especially at night, and between Coldwater and Laurel Canyon there are lots of places to pull over, enjoy spectacular views of night-time LA, and reflect on how this land-based empyrean of myriad coruscating lights seems well named as “the City of Angels”—or at least it did until David Lynch, that modern Lucifer of cinema, decided to make a film about it.
And yet his is only a film by default. Mulholland Drive was originally developed by Lynch as a two-hour pilot for a television series in 1999, but it was rejected by ABC. That TV network's cock-eyed decision only lends inverse credence to what Woody Allen said about LA in Annie Hall: “They don't throw their garbage away. They make it into television shows.” ABC's loss is cinema's gain, because Lynch's movie is the most atmospheric and enjoyable...
(The entire section is 946 words.)
Biga, Tracy. Review of Blue Velvet, by David Lynch. Film Quarterly 151, no. 1 (fall 1987): 44-9.
Biga focuses on the character of Sandy in her feminist analysis of Blue Velvet.
Carrión, María M. “Twin Peaks and the Circular Ruins of Fiction: Figuring (Out) the Acts of Reading.” Literature Film Quarterly 21, no. 4 (October 1993): 240-47.
Carrión discusses the narrative structure of Lynch's television series Twin Peaks.
Carroll, Michael. “Agent Cooper's Errand in the Wilderness: Twin Peaks and American Mythology.” Literature Film Quarterly 21, no. 4 (October 1993): 287-95.
Carroll examines Twin Peaks in terms of the American frontier myth.
Chion, Michael. David Lynch. London: British Film Institute, 1995, 210 p.
Chion presents a series of essays on the thematic and stylistic elements of Lynch's films.
Hampton, Howard. “David Lynch's Secret History of the United States.” Film Comment 29, no. 3 (May-June 1993): 47-9.
Hampton examines Lynch's films in terms of the myth of small town American culture.
Kaleta, Kenneth C. “Lynch at His Best—Blue Velvet.” In David Lynch, pp. 90-132. New York: Twayne, 1993.
(The entire section is 387 words.)