Possibly the only 21st century film to make the Top 100 in the most recent Sight & Sound poll - unless you count Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love (2000, S&S #24)... which I don't.
dir. David Lynch. 2001, USA.
Sight & Sound 2012: Critics' #28 / Directors' #75
Roger Ebert's movie review
DVD from Amazon
Watch via Hulu-Plus / Amazon Instant / iTunes / YouTube
Mulholland Dr trailer (2001)
Now, David Lynch? Seen a lot of his films, yeah... And I've been told this is one of his best, certainly of the later period stuff. So I was glad to have a chance to force myself to finally watch it!
"This is the girl."
I'd say it's a way better adult fairy tale dealing with the nature of identity, reality and fantasy, than was Pan's Labyrinth. Throughout the film, D was chomping at the bit to discuss specifics about the plot machinations and presentation style and what it all meant - but he managed to avoid spilling the spoilers. Although he did keep saying that to truly understand, I'd have to watch the whole thing over again.
I'm glad I really didn't know too many specifics going in. Just that some false or multiple identities were switched around, and some sexual chemistry developed between the two leads. All true. The early going takes place in a dreamy Hollywood, with typical Lynch-ian acting in the '50s melodrama soap opera style. As is to be expected, kooks galore... but the mystery adventure and possible crime story never float off too much. The Hollywood Dream sections are really great too, especially the big break audition.
I did not get to watch it a second time, and I definitely don't want to get into plot specifics, meanings and interpretations. Knowing how things work in the Lynch world, I had some decent theories along the way - none of them ended up being exactly correct, but I think they were mostly on the right track, which seems like as good a recommendation as any. The film consistently kept me guessing, presented the story as an understandable puzzle, doled out useful information but always kept some for itself.
By the big finale, things had ended up kind of sideways from where they started. As much as it still left open to interpretation, seeing the whole film does cast the early parts in a different light. And there was much to discuss, think about, and (eventually) to fold back into my next watching of the film. Highly recommended!