September 18 2021
1:10 PM
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Criterion Collection Reviews: Mulholland Dr.
Kozak rating: 5 stars

Mulholland Drive (I'm going to forego the spelling of the original title to make things easier) represents the peak in quality for David Lynch's surreal "nightmare" films. A truly unnerving, disturbing, and fascinating Hollywood horror story (Yes, I think it counts as a member of the genre. Not only that, it might be the best example of it for the 00s), it's so engaging, haunting, dense with ideas and creativity, that it's impossible for the mind to soak up every dizzying element of Lynch's Tinseltown noir fever dream. I watch it once almost every year, and still get new experiences with every viewing.

It's no wonder that Lynch slowed down his feature output since Mulholland Drive (His only other feature since has been the equally captivating and frustrating 3-hour digital video art project Inland Empire, which understandably has its horde of hardcore supporters), because where can a unique filmmaker like Lynch go after capturing such a pure and pitch-perfect representation of his trademark style?

Apart from the perfect execution of each scene, regardless of content or context as it relates to the story, what makes Mulholland Drive so special, and pulls it a tick above other Lynch nightmare films like Eraserhead and Lost Highway, is that there's a clear semblance of a conventional narrative, a fairly standard old school Hollywood melodrama even, hidden inside the film's labyrinthine dream logic and almost dizzying lack of conventional narrative structure. What makes the experience so much fun for film fans is that we all get our own interpretation of what truly happened, and we are all right in a way.

Even though Mulholland Drive is the Lynch film I've seen the most, to a point where I can probably recite every scene from beginning to end, this is the first time I'm writing a review about it, apart from an article for a Turkish photography magazine where I futilely attempted to explain the ten clues that Lynch wrote in the film's DVD sleeve for those who wanted to "solve" Mulholland Drive's many mysteries, knowing full well that the clues were Lynch's way of trolling his fans. To be honest, I'd rather let everyone experience Mulholland Drive for the first time without giving even the smallest hint about the plot or the characters. Mulholland Drive needs to be seen with as little prior knowledge about it as possible. That might be why Lynch never offers chapter selections on any home video release of the film. Like a dream, it needs to wash over you from beginning to end, with all of the unpredictability it entails.

If you've already seen it and know what you're in for, also know that you owe it to yourself to get your hands on the Criterion Blu-ray release of Lynch's masterpiece. The new 1080p transfer blows the previous DVD release out of the water. Capturing the grain and contrast of Mulholland Drive is essential to the experience, and this is as close as we'll get to the theatrical experience, short of owning a 35mm copy. The A/V presentation is spectacular, and make sure to crank up the sound on your surround system since the audio transfer shows considerable depth and power.

It's rare to get a Lynch DVD or Blu-ray with a lot of extras, since Lynch prefers his artistic output to speak on its own, so this new release of Mulholland Drive should be a treat to fans. There are a series of interviews, building up to two hours in total, with the cast and crew. The best of these is an honest and heartwarming interview with Lynch and Naomi Watts in the same room. Another great interview is with Justin Theroux, who goes into detail about the film's beginnings as a TV pilot. We also get a deleted scene and some behind the scenes footage.

Mulholland Drive will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from Criterion on October 27: