Viewed – 31 August 2007 DVD
Now it’s not often I’ll put a review on here of a film I have already seen, unless it really deserves a second look. This is one such example, as from what I recall, I found this on first watch to be one of the most unusual and hard to get into films I had ever seen – and came away with a fairly luke-warm opinion. Some years later, and after recently watching director David Lynch’s latest INLAND EMPIRE, I felt this highly acclaimed film deserved a second look. I wanted to know if I was missing something.
Naomi Watts, who you may know from King Kong is the pretty, excitable wannabe-actress, stepping off the plane for a new life in Hollywood; all big dreams and starry-eyed. Yet it’s not long before she stumbles upon a mysterious brunette hiding out in her Aunt’s apartment and suffering from amnesia following a near-fatal car accident. Hence forth we are given a mystery to solve revolving around the brunette and the young starlet’s attempt to help her…always with the threat of impending danger and intrigue. Yet this is Lynch territory and what seems like a simple story soon becomes something much stranger as characters pop in and out of the plot, the narrative is twisted, and soon we’re following Naomi down the rabbit hole into a dark nightmarish world.
Now to explain what this film is all about has confounded critics for years…you’ll have your theories, as I have mine…but the fun with this as with any Lynch film is the ‘experience’, the atmosphere and especially here, the emotion, that doesn’t loosen its grip for one second (one tearful moment involves Roy Orbison’s timeless Crying as sung in a foreign language, yet loosing none of its impact). Watts is excellent as the lead character, on a rollercoaster journey of discovery, both self and otherwise, and is probably one of her boldest performances outside of the mainstream…and this is dark, creepy, erotic and thoroughly rewarding stuff if you have the concentration to bleed it of all its intricacies. Especially worthwhile with repeated viewing, and fun if you follow the included list of clues that comes with a booklet all about the making of this strange but brilliant movie. Now I see what all the fuss was about – weird huh?
The DVD is a very nice package indeed, and even has the normally frowned upon (by David Lynch) scene selection that is as off-kilter as can be expected. Add to this a wealth of interviews, a making of and lots more – and this is worthy of anyone’s collection, Lynch fan or not.
Verdict: 5 /5