Detail – when it is supposed to be – is simply unparalleled. You may not believe this to be the case at first glance, but check out the scene in Club Silencio towards the end – the detail on the singer’s face is astounding: hair, makeup, tone – it all looks amazing. This is simply not the kind of material that one would expect to come across as flawless, and it will certainly never make for a showcase for your home cinema equipment, but it is nevertheless a near-perfect representation of Lynch’s vision. The colour scheme is well rendered, without any bleeding, and blacks are remarkably strong and potent, with shadow detail strong and sustained. If there was one quibble – and it is arguably not in respect of the presentation, but of Lynch’s filmwork – the picture is strikingly dark, and very difficult to watch unless in a reasonably dark room. Still, this video rendition holds up to close observation even under these extreme conditions.
First up we get a 10 minute Introduction by Director Thierry Jousse (in French with subtitles) where he discusses the film’s production history – how it was never made into a series – and how the French funded it’s transition to the Big Screen, Lynch’s influences (from Bergman to Hitchcock – both of which can be seen directly in scenes in the movie), his take on the darker side of Hollywood, and his evasiveness over the possible interpretations of the film.
In the Blue Box
This retrospective documentary takes 28 minutes to offer up numerous varied (predominantly from French Directors) opinions on the movie and its story. It’s a comprehensive compilation of reflections not only on the movie, but also on Lynch’s style and body of work as a whole, and for those prepared to sustain reading the subtitles for the duration of the length interviews, it is well worth investigating.
On the Road to Mulholland Drive
This is the original 24 minute Making-Of Documentary made closer to the year of the production itself (and thus primarily of fairly sub-standard SD-quality), with on-set interviews and post-production snippets discussing the work. Lynch is on hand to explain, vaguely, his work, as well as the main cast members (Naomi Watts and Laura Harring), and they discuss the original TV pilot set-up and how it went in the direction of a movie. Even the final film footage clips appear to be relevant (what limited footage there is) and directly related to the comments that we hear. It’s a nice original production Featurette, and well worth exploring to get a feel for the immediate take that many had on both the shooting and the end result.
We also get several Interviews: the ones with Mary Sweeney and Composer Angelo Badalamenti were featured on previous releases, but here we get a new, Audio-Only Interview with Badalamenti, recorded 10 years on. Unfortunately, unless you’re a massive fan of the composer’s words, this can be a little tedious, with him mainly reflecting on his inspirations and his work, as a whole, rather than focussing on this particular project.
Back to Mulholland Drive
Arguably the most interesting extra is the newly-created 24-minute Featurette that has a French film expert explain (again in French, with subtitles) the entire narrative, showing key scenes chronologically, and putting his theories to proof using Lynch’s own set of 10 clues (which were provided after the movie’s release). This is perhaps the most important extra to many viewers since – as is reflected in the opening comment from a fan “I’ve seen the movie 26 times. Every time I see it I understand the movie a little bit less.” – the narrative can be quite tough to get to grips with. Well worth checking out to finally understand this intricate, elaborate maze-like masterpiece.
Endlessly frustrating but also infinitely rewarding, Mulholland Drive is certainly my favourite film in master auteur David 'Twin Peaks' Lynch's resume. It paints a dark, unsettling and often nightmarish picture of dashed hope and unrequited love deep within the seedy, rotten-to-the-core underbelly of the vast Hollywood machine. Beautifully acted, mesmirisingly constructed, with superior visuals, abstract imagery and a haunting, oppressive score, the convoluted production history (which basically saw this film come into existence as a bastardised combination of a TV pilot and a bunch of newly-commissioned scenes filmed 2 years later) only adds to the flavour on offer, enhancing that strange, uneasy feeling that something is far from right in this existential Lynchian world. Riding the fine line between sanity and madness, dreams and nightmares, illusions and reality, Mulholland Drive will likely leave you with far more questions that you could ever hope to answer, but will also hopefully make you happy that you were simply able to go along for the ride. Because ultimately, that's what it is all about.
On Region B-locked Blu-ray we get excellent video, oppressive, powerful audio and a hefty selection of comprehensive extras that not only reveal much of the sordid production history, but also go some way towards helping you solve this elaborate mystery. Fans should not hesitate in picking up this release – it’s a beautiful package – and newcomers who know little about the movie, or about Lynch’s work in general, should consider this sexy, dark and powerful tour de force a perfect place to start. Highly recommended.
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