Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive, admittedly, is one of those movies that keeps you at the edge of your seat all throughout. There is a desire and a thirst to figure out what is going on, to know the truth, and of course to understand what it all means. The movie does not only disturb us with the number of mysteries it presents but also disturbs us through its "adult" scenes. It bothers us to watch a full length movie and not be able to come to rest after. David Lynch surely left people, and not just our class, wondering in space in an attempt to fully understand the complexity of it all.

The basic gist of the film is about the two main characters: Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) and Rita (Laura Elena Harring). It begins with a Jitterbug contest where Betty wins and she flies of to Hollywood in the hops of becoming a star. Rita on the other hand was on her way to Mulholland Drive, and on the way gets in a car accident, stumbles out of the car and enters an apartment to hide. Betty, whose aunt Ruth owned the apartment, was going to stay there while her aunt was away filming a movie. When she gets to the apartment, she hears someone taking a shower and sees a woman inside. She asks about her identity and apparently, she doesn't remember due to the accident. Instead, she gives her the name Rita which she picked up from one of the movie posters. Together they try to uncover her Rita's true identity starting with her purse and finding lots of cash and a blue key. Later on they figure out that she is in danger. In their journey, other seemingly unrelated scenes occur. There is the scene with a director is auditioning for a female star and is blackmailed into accepting Camilla Rhodes to be her lead. There is also the scene in Winkie's where a conversation between 2 men about a weird dream happens and ends up in the back of the diner seeing a creature that is unidentifiable. Another scene is of a man killing a man and 2 other to be able to steal a black book. At the same time, Betty was scheduled by her aunt to go to an audition where she acted very naturally and was already regarded as a great actress. As Betty and Rita attempt to solve the mystery of Rita's identity, Rita remembers a name: Diane Selwyn. They look for her and eventually find a dead body at the house of the woman. Rita becomes bothered by this and they decide to change how she looks. A sexual encounter happens between the two during the night. After wards, Rita wakes up in the middle of the night speaking Spanish and demands to go to a theater. Here they watch a what seems to be an open mic performance and are moved to tears. They go back to the apartment and open a blue box with the blue key.

From here onwards, whatever may have seemed to be easy to comprehend from the start of the movie is now all gone. A whole new complication is brought about. All the while, it seemed as if we were watching the movie and the reality it showed. But in fact, once the blue box was opened, a whole new reality is thrown at us and makes us see that the whole time, we were simply watching a dream. We now realize that Betty is Diane Selwyn and she was in fact in a relationship with Rita who is really Camilla Rhodes. Camilla ends their relationship because she has formed a relationship with the director which makes Diane furious. She is then invited to the director's house in Mulholland Drive for a party which she later realizes was an engagement party for Camilla and the director. Diane, in her anger, hired a hitman to kill Camilla. The hitman tells her that when he is done, he would leave a blue key in her apartment. In the end, Diane kills herself.

These scenes and situations happening right in front of our eyes seem to always surprise us. When we seem as if we can expect what would happen next, it would change or something new would be introduced. The movie makes us go one step further, only to take us two steps back every now and then to reflect on what has been happening. All the while, we try to remember what is currently happening so as not to miss a step in the very confusing context of the whole film.

All throughout the movie, different twists and turns occur, confusing us all the while where we stand. At one point we believe that we are in the reality of what is Betty's life and then next thing we know, we're actually just stuck in a dream of Diane. We are stirred up even to the last moment trying to decipher what is going on. Just when we thought we were getting closer to understanding the mystery in front of us, we are pulled back from the very start because we had it all wrong.

Many surprising scenes occur that stir our minds in many different ways. The scene of the decomposing corpse, of the audition, of them making love, of the song in Club Silencio, of Diane's masturbation, and others. All these add up to the confusion of reality and dream in the movie. We try to connect them all, but somehow one or two scenes just don't seem to fit.

After watching, I went through David Lynch's 10 clues to understanding Mulholland Drive. To be perfectly honest, I didn't even understand the clues. I was so confused that it took me a couple more researches online before I was finally in the path to "solving" the movie. In truth, I don't think I'll ever come to a conclusion as to what really is happening. But with the help of the links below, I was able to at least grasp some ideas and theories that have helped in coping with the movie's weird way of entertainment. Despite all these, I truly believe that David Lynch was able to create a brilliant piece in this movie, even if it might take forever for me to understand it.

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Interesting Links:
Lost on Mulholland Drive
Info on Mulholland Drive
Mulholland Drive
10 clues


Mulholland Drive is, at the same time, the last great cinematic noir classic and the first undeniable evidence of film noir’s resurgence in modern cinema. David Lynch, with this feature, takes the unmistakable leap from long-time director to that much-maligned yet highly coveted position of auteur. Lynch capacity to suspend disbelief, confound belief and engineer comprehensive dramatic tension all at the same time, all on the same frame is unmatched in his industry. Perhaps rightly so, as no-one can accuse him of ever catering to mass appeal with his projects, and I doubt that the modern audience is adequately equipped to handle many more like him. His singularity is both a hindrance and a gift to the evolution of cinema.

Mulholland Drive plays out like the quintessential whodunit, complete with a tangentially sinister view of an otherwise recognizable milieu, constantly unraveling plot, mysterious and manipulative female characters and suspense in spades. What sets this particular piece apart is its ability to make the audience second-guess itself and wonder beyond who done what and imagine, more crucially, just what had been done in the first place? The tone and the irresistibly provocative mood lead you to believe that a mystery is right there to be solved, but may yet leave you speculating on the nature of mystery, itself. The way tension is built by a sudden change of pace in the main character’s audition scene is significant in itself, and is worthy of an entire article on its own accord. Mulholland Drive is as mysterious a piece as it is vital, and will echo in the memory of cinema for generations to come.

Interesting Links:
Mulholland Drive
Everything you were afraid to ask about "Mulholland Drive"
The Not So Straight Story- Mulholland Drive

Snippets from the movie:

David Lynch's Ten Clues to Unlocking Mulholland Drive:

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