The first time I saw this movie, I was in the (b) category. I couldn't explain it, I couldn't put it together, but I loved it. It begins with two story threads that are ostensibly unrelated. In one, a woman called "Rita" has lost her memory and -- with the help of a bold, aspiring actress named Betty -- tries to find out who she is. In the other, there appears to be a mysterious operation in Hollywood surrounding the casting process of a young director's latest movie. A number of weird scenes are interspersed amidst these two plot threads and seemingly have nothing to do with anything. In the final half hour, the movie's world is twisted around and by the time it ends, the viewer will probably be left scratching his head. Less patient viewers will probably start swearing like drunken sailors and break something (or maybe go watch Independence Day).
I was completely enthralled by every second of this film, but I needed to wait for the DVD before I could see it again and begin to try and understand it. I've seen it several times now and while I'm not much closer to understanding it, I love it just the same. I've read a number of interpretations of this movie that suggest anything from "it's all a dream" to "it's about how Hollywood corrupts" to "IT MAKES NO SENSE." At the time of this writing, I've just watched it for the fourth time, and I must assert that there is a certain purpose behind everything, even the scenes which are the weirdest of weird. However, I cannot come up with a comprehensive understanding of this movie that elucidates _all_ its different elements. On one hand, the entire experience seems remarkably dream-like, almost a cinematic montage of self-contained, powerful episodes with a tenuous relationship to other scenes. On the other hand, though the movie appears to be sundered into two distinct parts, there is a definite connection to be made. A very fun movie to explore.
Naomi Watts' performance (as Betty) is absolutely stunning. If Halle Barry hadn't been so good in Monster's Ball, I'd have said Miss Watts deserved the Oscar for Best Actress in 2001 (I don't even know if she was nominated...but the Oscars are dumb anyway). Think carefully about Betty's acting audition...it's one of the theme's pillars.
Can you "cut the Gordian knot" of Mulholland Drive? In other words, can anyone solve the puzzle of this movie? I'm honestly not sure anyone can -- there's a 5000+ word analysis out there on the Internet that is quite great, but even it can't account for everything. There may not be a complete answer at all. Maybe this movie just resists sound reasoning entirely. But it sure is great.
The bottom line? Watch the movie, I guess. You might think it's the dumbest film ever made, or get consumed by the mystery of it all.
The DVD itself is pretty weak feature-wise. No scene selection, for one thing, which is pretty much inexcusable. It's made so much worse for the fact that there are a number of very poignant scenes that just beg repeated viewings. Other than that, you get the obligatory DVD features with no appreciable extras. Bummer.
What did you think of this review?