"We've met before." -The Mystery Man
David Lynch is haunted by the decay of suburbia and the noir culture that has eaten away at all that was good about this 50's utopia. This sickness has sunk its teeth into the dead spaces of the middle-class with a screenal disease that turns everyone and everything into an endless sitcom rerun, an endless porno-loop, an endless transmigration of souls as "America's Funniest Home Videos" bathed in blood. The first act of "Lost Highways" enacts the hyper-isolation, boredom, fear and trembling of a young couple slowly becoming infected by video--the ghost of voyerism-in-itself. It is the mystery of this effect that drives Lynch's hallucinogenic narrative down the lost highways of a dead culture.
Every frame in the first act resonates with a deeply complex foreboding of things lurking just outside of our vision. This is perhaps Lynch's finest work to date, beyond Blue Velvet's lush and lurid composition, he creates spare points of fragile intensity that truly dig into ones memory--like the videos that are haunting the couple. Once "Lost Highway" moves into the second act it begins to lose its energy and from then on only a few moments recreate the force of the first section. The narrative creates so many questions that it overcomes the horrible beauty that crawled the walls earlier.
Lynch should have watched Hitchcock's "Vertigo" a few more times before embarking on part two--the excess that follows are more in line with DePalma than with Lynch's previous aesthestic strategies. By attempting to define the essence of the hyperdecay that is encircling his 50's utopia and by calling forth on a hypermoralism, that is perhaps more vile than the pornographers that he slices up, "Lost Highway" loses control and crashes. Perhaps, someday, Lynch will give up the ghost of 80's Reganism, with its putrid morality, and allow himself to meet the "mystery man" face to face--which is nothing less than himself as filmmaker and finally make a film that will haunt even the dead.
I do not agree with Dominguez that Lost Highway crashes at the end. Even though the first section is indeed better than the second the movie keeps it strange mystery of people being haunted by something they don’t know and they don’t see. So does the viewer of this film. Everything becomes only alive as an imagination, an imagination that turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because we know how to read the dark iconography of Lynch we recreate the nightmare actively. What a difference to Cronenberg’s Crash that showed us everything in a very conventional way desperately trying to be ‘shocking’. It is a major accomplishment of Lynch to bring a film into the movie theatres that has no real narrative. And a good one!
Very interesting comments ricardo. I thought this is Lynch's best or at least most interesting work. I do agree that the second part is kind of.... distant compared to the first, yet it works in its own sensibility... at least for me. The right wing aspect of Lynch's work is also interesting. In his own way he captures the auroa of the horrible Reagan years, and is also quite smutty at the same time - perhaps he eroticizes the Reagan years.
David Lynch is haunted by his hatred of women. He is a cinematic sermon preacher for lost of the soul by way of seduction of the female. With Lynch the theme is always the cunt equals death and damnation. He is a strong stylist but a lousy thinker and a misogynist.