Viewed – 13 December 2011 DVD
Of all movies in the career of surrealist auteur David Lynch, the movie version of the acclaimed if short-lived television series Twin Peaks, is possibly the most misunderstood. Fans of the show turned against it in their droves, and critics just didn’t get it. Yet some, including British critic Mark Kermode consider the movie possibly the true masterpiece of the director’s career.
This explores the last seven days of tragic high school sweetheart Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), lifting the curtain on her squeaky clean persona to reveal a life of drug taking, promiscuity and nightly rapes at the hands of a creepy man known only as Bob. Lynch’s expose of the final days of a character whose story was at one time the most talked about on tv, is an unsettling, unhinged nightmare behind a mask of American small town innocence. Sheryl Lee, a much underrated actress in my opinion, may deliver a performance that boarders on crazy, but beneath the hysterics there breathes real emotion. The movie itself is confusing at times and like much of Lynch’s work, offers few answers, even if you’re a fan of the TV show, yet the atmosphere, the startlingly disturbing imagery and haunting soundtrack creates a truly mesmerizing, and often quite hypnotic cocktail.
This is a movie you feel and experience above anything else. It’s scary, somewhat perverse and will linger in your head, but above all else it’s classic Lynch, and although not as brilliantly crafted as some of his other movies, and suffers from a lack of restraint almost from the off … it is still well worth your time.
Verdict: 3.5 /5
- David Lynch- Crazy Clown Time (gearslutz.com)
- Twin Peaks (mmmgooey.wordpress.com)
- David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ Remains An All-Time Great Film 25 Years Later (businessinsider.com)
Well, I have been checking out this show recently after having purchased the definitive gold box set, containing the complete seasons 1 & 2. To the under-initiated, this is the story of high school sweetheart Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) who is found dead, washed up on the riverside, wrapped in plastic. It’s an event that shocks the small community of Twin Peaks, a seemingly normal town that hides many dark secrets and a wealth of characters with plenty to hide. Step in F.B.I. agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) whose goal is to uncover the seedy goings on and find the killer.
As this show is twenty years old, I was very much expecting it to look dated, and was pleasantly surprised to find it holds up quite well. The characters are imaginative and unique and some of the casting is spot on, with a brilliantly dead-pan Kyle Maclachlan as well as worthy turns from the likes of Ray Wise, Lara Flynn Boyle and Madchen Amick, not to mention a seriously sexy Sherilyn Fenn.
Created by oddball surrealist David Lynch collaborating with Mark Frost, this at times bizarre show was a huge hit in the 1990′s, sparking an international cult following that exists to this day. Re-watching it now, I feel that in between the ‘Lynch’ moments of surreal oddness, the show can feel somewhat melodrama and overly emotional, and the acting can feel very forced and camp – but perhaps that was intentional. Angelo Badalamenti’s timeless score though still has a wondrously moving power to it that has lost none of its appeal over the years, and the moments of dream-sequences, freaky behaviour and the disturbing character of Bob remain very chilling – possibly more than any show before or since. I feel somewhat surprised that this took off at all though, as Lynch is an acquired taste at times and some of his imagery can be very upsetting – but then again, with the quality of the script and the effectiveness of the inital premise – perhaps it’s not quite so hard to understand why the show struck a cord. Sadly though I also feel that the dwindling viewing figures for season two, leading to the shows cancellation had more to do with the limited appeal of David Lynch’s surreal style than any real failing with the show as a whole.
But if like me you ‘get’ Lynch, then this is a treat, as it has enough broad appeal to suck you in, and is bonkers enough to satisfy if you’ve seen the likes of Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. Just a shame the show didn’t continue for a few more seasons.
For more information on David Lynch and some recommendations of his work, check out my write up I did on him a while back, which amongst other things, has links to other sites that cover his career as a whole…
Look what came into my possession today…
Arguably the most iconic TV series of all time, loved by many, loathed by many… but for me it was typical genius by director David Lynch, who in my opinion is a true original in the business. As a fan of his movies, especially Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Blue Velvet, re-visiting this classic show has been a long time coming … and I’m very much looking forward to it.
I also plan to pick up the movie spin-off ‘Fire, Walk With Me’ at a later stage, which I think compliments the series well, and is surpringly even more bonkers.
To mark the release of his latest opus INLAND EMPIRE on DVD this week (watch out for the review soon!), I thought it was high time I gave a few words about my appreciation of this visionary director.
Possibly best known for the acclaimed TV series Twin Peaks, this long standing director first found critical acclaim with the classic The Elephant Man … still one of the most difficult to watch films I have ever seen. Yet Lynch’s work is often difficult … not because its unpleasant or horrific (even though many a time he can touch on both) but because he has the ability to tap into that part of our psyche that we all wish we could avoid – nightmares and the strangeness of those dreams that don’t make any sense – or at worst freak you out.
Very much an artist of the medium, Lynch is also a painter and furniture designer and has been heralded by critics as a modern day genius. How else do you explain his body of work, which can feature some of the most haunting and powerful imagery & sound your senses have ever been (mis)treated to. At his best, he can wrap a conventional drama around dream-like imagery and atmosphere, bring out career defining performances from the likes of Laura Dern, Dennis Hopper, Nicholas Cage and Naomi Watts, whilst also probably presenting us with a side to the actors we have never seen before. His films don’t easily fit any particular genre though, and are sometimes mixtures of thriller, comedy, drama and horror…and I find his brand of nightmarish wierdness some of the scariest stuff I’ve ever been witness to. He’d be the best horror director on the planet, if Lynch could be labelled so simply. He uses unsettling sound effects, music that really shouldn’t fit the scene in question (but to startling effect), and moments of style and creative editing that leave their mark – long after the credits have rolled.
So to watch a David Lynch film is to have an ‘experience’ completely unlike anything in cinema today. He stands alone as one of the boldest, strangest but most fascinating directors around. Just don’t try to figure out what it all means, for fear of a splitting headache.
Twin Peaks (series 1 & 2)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me