Film Scouts Reviews

"Lost Highway"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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I like David Lynch. "The Elephant Man" was great, "Blue Velvet unusual, and even "Wild at Heart" was entertaining in a David Lynch sort of way. I like non-linear storylines too, but I need to be able to tell that they are non-linear, which is why I was totally lost on "Lost Highway". First, Bill Pullman ("Independence Day"), as a jazz sax player, goes through this disjointed episode with his brunette wife, Patricia Arquette ("Flirting with Disaster", "Ed Wood"). Second, the story changes cast and Balthazar Getty ("White Squall", "Mr. Holland's Opus") is now being seduced by Patricia Arquette as a blond, who is married to Robert Loggia ("Independence Day"), a mobster. I sense that this is really about a shape-shifting schizophrenic, and that whatever money Lynch has paid for psychotherapy was a total waste. All women are evil. Men are desperate for flashy cars and evil women. According to Todd Jorgenson, the story starts in the middle and loops back on itself at the end. That leaves fewer plot holes, but is almost too plain for Lynch.

"Lost Highway" is meant to be a post-modern detour through the psyche, "a 21st-century noir horror film". My theory is that they started out to make one movie, got bored with the plot line, went off on a tangent and are calling it noir to confuse the movie-ticket-buying public. David Lynch and Barry Gifford fashioned this script from two words in Gifford's novel "Night People": (take a wild guess!) lost highway. But the press notes prove me wrong. This was a deliberate attempt at a Kafka-esque identity exploration. They should have focused on poor Robert Blake (TV's "Baretta", "Money Train") who portrays Mystery Man, but we all know he is Death. He looks like death after that horrid face lift. Or shift the story to Richard Pryor ("Silver Streak", "Stir Crazy") who was at the top of the comedy heap, almost killed himself with his drug indulgences, and now copes with a debilitating disease.

The bottom line is that if you like David Lynch's unique style - that is, if you like expressionism - you will want to see "Lost Highway" in its limited release. If you are expecting the same Bill Pullman and Robert Loggia you saw in "Independence Day", skip this one. Rated R. October Films.

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