2001, 147 min. / Directed by David Lynch / Universal / SS-DL Reg. 1 NTSC DVD / 1.78:1 (16:9) / DD 5.1, DTS / Rel. 4-9-2002 / MSRP $39.99
     

Lynch followed up his family-oriented film The Straight Story with yet another trip down familiar territory in the puzzling Hollywood mosaic Mullholland Drive.

After an opening montage full of frenetic jitterbug dance numbers mixed other other strange elements, the young anonymous woman Rita (Laura Hauring) becomes the victim of a traumatic auto collsion on Mulholland Drive. After stumbling from the wreckage of her limo with amnesia, she walks down into the city and hides inside the home of Betty (Naomi Watts), a young starlet from Canada who's staying in the apartment of her rich aunt. She finds Rita and together they embark on a quest to unravel her identity. At the same time there's a director being forced to replace his the lead in his new film with a mysterious female actress as well as a group of rogue killers who seem very interesting in the whereabouts of Rita.

Mulholland Drive began its life as the televison pilot of an ABC series. After ABC balked at the strange plot threads and wacko characters, the show was dumped andLynch was forced to rethink the picture as a feature-length motion picture. The device which he invented to clear up all the loose plot-end was brilliant: the first part of the film is a kaleidoscope of the dying dreams of Naomi Watts' Diane Selwyn, a young actress who came to hollywood and had her heart broken by Harring's Camilla Rhodes. Just as the director recasts his film Diane re-casts the end of her life with everyone playing different roles under different names. But is it really that complex? Could it be that Rita/Camilla/whoever is just a figment of Watt's imagination? Are they two parts of some uknown whole? Even the best explanation can't tie up all the loose threads which Lynch casts out before his audience.

 

 

  Universal has unfortunately dropped the ball on the dvd of this Academy Award-nominated film, strangely enough at the supposed request of the director. Keeping in-tune with Lynch's current policies, the disc has no chapter stops and the only special features included are the film's theatrical trailer and a strange menu system whose main screen alternates between picture of Rita and Camilla. Neato. The 1.78:1 anamorphic video presents the film in a wider, well-balancing framing which greatly improves upon the sorry state of the mis-framed theatrical prints. The most annoying aspet of ths release is the small bit of optical censorship during a dark bedroom scene where Ms. Harring's pubic area has been blurred out. These deficiencies combined with the lame gimmick of two different dvd covers and high MSRP make for a less-spectacular dvd of a truly great film.