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Lost Highway
Lost Highway
Actors: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, John Roselius, Louis Eppolito, Jenna Maetlind
Director: David Lynch
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2008     2hr 15min

Plot is a meaningless term when trying to describe Lost Highway. Here, more or less, is what happens: A noise-jazz saxophonist (Bill Pullman) suspects his wife (Patricia Arquette) of infidelity. Meanwhile, someone is break...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, John Roselius, Louis Eppolito, Jenna Maetlind
Director: David Lynch
Creators: Peter Deming, Mary Sweeney, Deepak Nayar, Tom Sternberg, Barry Gifford
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 03/25/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1997
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1997
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 15min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 32
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, French, English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

"No Such Thing as a Bad Coincidence" (Understanding LOST HIG
Boy | 08/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before getting into the actual review, I'd like to clarify that Amazon's product Description for this item is incorrect, in that there is no "10-part multi-angle interview with David Lynch". In fact, there is no interview at all, and the only real negative comment I have about this gorgeously remastered FOCUS edition is that there are no interesting special features.

I also want to mention that this film's soundtrack is one of the best I've ever heard, featuring one of Angelo Badalamenti's most varied and evocative scores, and killer cuts from David Bowie ("I'm Deranged"), Nine Inch Nails ("The Perfect Drug"), Lou Reed ("This Magic Moment"), Smashing Pumpkins ("Eye"), Marilyn Manson ("I Put a Spell On You"), and others. The rock songs and the orchestral score weave in and out of each other seamlessly throughout. Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, who also produced the outrageous NATURAL BORN KILLERS soundtrack, is the evil mastermind behind this great album.

OK, with all that out of the way...

LOST HIGHWAY was David Lynch's 1997 return to feature films after taking a few years off following the all-around disastrous reception of 1993's TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. Interestingly enough, LH is even more relentlessly surreal and initially impenetrable than FIRE WALK WITH ME, and also deals with several of the same disturbing obsessions, such as divided personas, sexual perversion, brutal murder, and malignant, unknowable entities from other dimensions. Light stuff, right? Wrong.

The first time you see this film, you're likely to walk (or perhaps stagger) away without much of a clue as to what you just saw. But if you feel drawn to return this film, somehow feeling that there was something deeply compelling beneath the surface that you weren't quite able to grasp, you will soon find yourself formulating theories with every subsequent viewing.

The most popular interpretation of LH is that the main character, Fred Madison (played by Bill Pullman), is essentially psychotic, and that he is simply imagining a good deal of what we see in the film. The idea behind this theory is that Fred was arrested for brutally murdering and dismembering his wife, and now sits in his lonely prison cell, obsessively concocting his own desperately deluded version of what happened. Fred can't face up to his own bleak and twisted reality, so he imagines he is another person with another life altogether. Unfortunately, Fred's subconscious won't let him indulge in his fantasies indefinitely, and his imaginings end up turning inward on themselves into a nightmare worse than the actual reality he is fleeing from.

Others go even further off the deep end and argue that the entire film - not just the final two-thirds - take place inside the head of (an apparently unidentified) madman. The obvious problem with this uber-reductionist theory is that it completely reduces this complex and mysterious film to nothing more than a series of random and inane delusions. To me, this latter interpretation is purely ludicrous.

At any rate, the biggest problem with these "Fred-was-imagining-it-all" theories - especially the first one I mentioned - is that they just don't hold up under honest scrutiny. And here's why.

The main problem is that a number of the most important plot threads in the film are introduced BEFORE Fred goes ape and murders his wife, including: a trio of increasingly terrifying and intrusive video tapes mysteriously left in manilla envelopes on the Madisons' front door; a demonic-looking fellow who can be in two places at once and who invades the Madisons' home on the night of the murder; and the all-important question of who assisted Fred in killing his wife (because the murder was video-taped, there had to be an accomplice, presumably the person who sent the three aforementioned video cassette tapes).

So. If we are to buy into the idea that Fred is imagining everything we see in LOST HIGHWAY after his incarceration, we must also buy into the idea that the tapes and the Mystery Man and the identity of Fred's accomplice are all tantalizing mysteries which were included simply to be discarded and forgotten.

If that's your thing, then be my guest. But if you actually want to understand what this staggeringly complex and disturbing film is all about, I'll give you a few choice clues and a strong recommendation that you simply watch the film again with some of my comments in mind.

Everyone strapped in and ready? Good - let's ride.

The most important thing to understand about this film is that everything we see in the film is actually happening, as opposed to being dreams or delusions in Fred's mind. Now don't get me wrong - there is a dream sequence in the film, and it is one of the most important scenes in the film. However, my point is that the dream is clearly a dream - Fred is lying in bed and recounting a dream he had to his wife. And if you go back and watch Lynch's other films, you'll see that this is always the case - if a character is dreaming or having a flashback, it is made perfectly CLEAR that the character is dreaming or having a flashback. And again, there are also some important flashback sequences in this film - in fact, the dream sequence is recounted as a flashback - but all are clearly identifiable as flashbacks.

Once you can overcome this hurdle - and believe me, it is tempting to succumb to the idea Fred is simply imagining most of the film - you are officially on the right track to understanding LOST HIGHWAY.

Next up: the uber-creepy Mystery Man (played by Robert Blake, sans eyebrows) is NOT a figment of Fred's purportedly deranged imagination. Instead, this malignant man in black is best described as being an otherworldly demonic entity, not unlike characters we've seen in other David Lynch productions, such as TWIN PEAKS's Killer BOB, MULHOLLAND DR.'s frightening "Bum behind Winkie's", INLAND EMPIRE's The Phantom, and so on.

The MM is the film's supernatural element, and he is responsible for the transformation of Fred Madison into Pete Dayton (played by Balthazar Getty), a transformation otherwise written off as being a mere delusion in Fred's head. He is also responsible for the trio of doppelgangers, or doubles, whom we meet in the film ("Mr. Eddy", "Alice Wakefield", and Fred's unnamed twin).

To sum him up, MM is a classic variation on The Devil archetype who cuts Faustian deals with any man or woman foolish or desperate enough to invite him into their lives. Fred, Renee, and Dick are three such individuals, and understanding this plot-point is central to understanding the overarching story of LOST HIGHWAY.

Lastly, the final act of the film becomes more comprehensible when you bear in mind that most of it takes place in an otherworldly place outside the realm of reality - the very place from which the demonic MM comes from. This "other place" is also something we've seen in so many of Lynch's previous films, including ERASERHEAD (the Singing Lady's world inside Henry's radiator), TWIN PEAKS (the Black and White Lodges), MULHOLLAND DR. (Club Silencio), and so on. Pete Dayton and Alice (Renee's doppelganger) cross over into this realm when they drive out into the desert along the titular lost highway.

So the final third of the film takes place in one of these extra-dimensional zones, where the laws of space and time as we know them do not necessarily apply. Lynch clearly illustrates this point by making the MM's headquarters a backwards-exploding cabin which impossibly detonates into existence. We only return to reality at the tail end of the film, when Fred's unnamed doppelganger returns to his former home and is chased off by the caravan of police cruisers.

Feeling confused yet? That's OK - you probably should be. But next time you watch this film, just think about some of the ideas I've presented here, and see if the film doesn't start making a little more sense.

If not, you can always just throw your hands up and say that LH is just an absurdly random and unecessarily convoluted look into the whacked-out mind of an apparent madman who apparently killed his wife. Or something like that.

Either way...enjoy."
LynchFan | UK | 04/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an awful print of the film and not worth the purchase. I recommend the 2-disc version on region 2, a fine anamorphic print ,with a vibrant DTS track. David Lynch is the master of the surreal and if you want to experience it properly then check out the european print"