How are good and evil represented in Mulholland Drive?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 thriller film written and directed by David Lynch. Initially intended to the be the pilot for a new television series, the networks rejected it, and Lynch filmed new scenes and recut it into a full-length movie.

While the film is very open to interpretation, many viewers see it as the filmic representation of a woman descending into madness; non-linear structures abound, melded with visual and auditory hallucinations, and the lead character may or may not be entirely real. Although this allows many venues of conjecture, the representation of good and evil is obvious, if not really clear: the value of artistic vision and integrity is compromised by outside forces, which destroy the people involved.

In the case of the movie director, played by Justin Theroux, his intentions are thwarted both by his wife's infidelity and a local movie syndicate, which wants to influence his artistic decisions. He is the "good," while the others are "evil," and in the end, he enters the role of "evil" himself by stealing the actress Camilla (probably real) from Diane (probably the real protagonist). Meanwhile, Camilla herself is evil, as she torments Diane, who may be having the hallucinations that form the bulk of the film. In her attempt to "play the game," here being the lies, deceit, and dishonesty that plagues the film business, Diane is destroyed by her own guilt and shame; Diane tries, and fails, to be "evil," and she may be the only real victim of her fall from "good."

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