From the first five minutes, we are projected into three different scenes that have no visible relation with each other. First, there are people who dance like they come from the fifties. We are then transported to a scene where someone collapses on his pillow to finally be brought onto Mulholland Drive where the action begins. While the film will eventually be developed, it will not become clearer than these first brief instants.
The film’s first 80% are relatively easy to follow regardless of the fact that the connection between the characters and events of the different scenes is never really explained. On one side we have Adam, the compulsive director that is manipulated by the mafia. They dictate how he must do his work. Then there are Camilla and Betty, two strangers who fall in love with one another and that lead an investigation that truly seems to progress.
Adam and his environment fulfill the humour, aggressive, corruption and lucidity aspects of the film. As for the two women, they release a feeling of mysticism, make us curious and cause us to pay attention to even the smallest of details. The film progresses by going back and forth between these two stories, giving us the illusion that it could reveal the secret correlation at any moment. However, as time passes, we start asking ourselves more and more questions even though the time left to answer them quickly dwindles.
My global perception is the same as those who will not feel it sufficient to think that the story is illogical and illusory. However, I am convinced that everyone who views this film will have their own variant of the general idea and of the clues left behind. For all that we know, this film might not even make sense to David Lynch, its creator.
First of all, at the beginning, the camera imitates someone lying down on his bed. Later, a cadaver is found in the same location and even later someone wakes up after sleeping in the same position than the person who had died there, possibly in another world, at another moment. It is never really explained by it brings us, after thinking over the clues, to believe that this film may only be a dream deprived of rationality. I like to think that Camilla is only a representation of what Betty would like to be, that Betty isn’t really the actress we thought she was and that she is dreaming her own success at the same time as Camilla’s degradation. It doesn’t stop there because, here and there, other characters come and go without having direct contact with them. In addition, from time to time, one of them faints. But what tells us that they aren’t, in reality, leaving the world of dreams to come back to reality because of a telephone’s ring (Telephones in this movie have a particular importance!) or because someone sneezes too loud? Maybe this film illustrates an astral world where dreamers meet?
It is more in this level of confusion that I find the essence of the film. I would feel better if I had more answers to my questions but, from another angle, I wouldn’t have spent a week trying to figure everything out, asking myself if reality exists, trying to assemble the pieces of the puzzle. For those who prefer an answer closer to reality, I recommend you consider four things: the blue key, the blue box, what the blue key represents to the character who explains his reason for being and the fact that a key is to a box’s lock as what a solution is to a problem. From here, it is up to you to manage your beliefs and spirituality. You will come to a certain interpretation of the film but many details will remain unexplained.
As for my personal opinion of Mulholland Dr. as a film and a story, it remains neutral. I love to be entertained but I also appreciate having my expectations fulfilled. This film creates a need that it does not nourish and we are left alone, trying to understand in vain, long after the film has ended. I guess you have to decide what you want in a film before being able to judge. I do critic Mulholland Dr. more than I praise it in its entirety, if it is not for the excellent and eccentric actors and roles, the quality of the camera angles, the subtlety of the visual effects and camera work, in general.
Towards the end, we witness what may be, for some, the best part of the film in a multilingual theatre/club. We don’t know why but it is gripping. At this point in the film, we have abandoned almost all forms of logic but this breather (which possibly contains more important material than any other of the film’s scenes) becomes touching to the sound of an interesting of a Spanish interpretation of “Crying” by Roy Orbison. Furthermore, everything seems to be in slow motion when compared to everything we have just witnessed.
I have rarely witnessed such a fluid homosexual relationship on screen. It is mostly because there is no one to judge the couple and because the first sexual act is approached with such realism and purity. In addition, thrown into such a plot, we don’t get the feeling that the women are being exploited.
Mulholland Dr. easily passes from comedy to horror but, as a whole, the global effect that this movie will have on you may depend on your left hemisphere’s influence on your right!