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 brea... more »king into their house and videotaping them while they sleep. The wife is murdered and Pullman is convicted of the crime. Then, in prison, he transmogrifies into a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) who is subsequently released, since, after all, he's not the guy they convicted. Getty goes back to his life and meets a local gangster's moll, who happens to be played by Patricia Arquette... but none of this has much to do with what the movie is really about. Dreams are what intrigues director David Lynch. Not friendly, happy dreams; his dreams whisper that what we think is real is just something we made up, something to keep ourselves from falling into chaos. Characters are fragments. Events happen not because they make sense, but because deep down we want these things to happen. Of course, in Lynch's dreams, as in our waking lives, getting what we want is not always pleasant. In the movie's best moments, you really have no idea what you're seeing. The screen is a big rectangle of color and shadow, but what it represents, well, it could be anything. And yet, in those moments, you've been given just enough hints of place, character, and story that these elusive images elicit a genuine dread, a sense that you might not want to see this, yet you can't look away; a sense that we are living on borrowed time, that something is fiercely askew in our psyches. As a whole, Lost Highway is a failure: much of it is padded, gratuitous, and indulgent and pointless cameos bog down an already sluggish narrative. Yet within that failure are moments worth more than the entirety of most successful movies. --Bret Fetzer« less
David Jamieson | Rancho Cucamonga, CA USA | 07/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For many of you who saw Lost Highway, the meaning and interpretation of the film has eluded you. If you are anything like me, you spent hours reviewing the movie, thumb on the pause button, notebook in lap! The beauty of the film truly lies in it's mystery. It is a work of art, and as with any artistic expression, the piece is left open for interpretation by all. Each persons opinion or conclusion neither being right or wrong. My original ideas included comparing Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield (Patricia Arquette) to a modern day Eve, working with the devil/mystery man (Robert Blake) as she lured the men in the movie into sin. My other major theory was that the main characters in the movie at one point sold their souls to the devil, and he held total control over their fate, drawing them into his den and forcing them to do his dirty work, i.e. porn, murder, etc.Well, my interpretations were all well and good, but I was interested in what was going through the mind of David Lynch and Barry Gifford when they wrote the movie. I did a little research, and this is what I found...Night PeopleThe idea for this movie came to David Lynch while reading a book by Barry Gifford called Night People. In the book, Barry uses the term "lost highway" and those words sparked an idea in David's head. From this early point, David knew he wanted to make a movie about the unknown. He contacted Barry, and they set out to write the movie.MurderIf any of you are wondering if Fred actually killed Renee, the answer is yes. Fred lived in constant fear of loosing Renee, constant fear that she was cheating on him, and most importantly, constant fear of her past. He loved Renee, but at the same time hated her. Whenever he saw her, he saw her past. Sex with Renee was a torturous reminder of her experience in porn, making it impossible for him to even finish. Eventually, he just snapped. If you watch the movie again, pause it at the point where he watches the final video tape, and jog slowly over the portion where we see Renee's body. You will see what kind of anger and rage exploded inside Fred when he killed her. Her torso is ripped apart, her upper and lower body are completely separated and her hand is cut off and lying on the bed. Continue to jog slowly and you will see Fred stare directly into the camera with a piercing, maniacal gaze.Psychogenic FuguePsychogenic fugue is an existing mental condition in which the subject, wanting to escape reality, creates a new reality inside their head. The person will create new friends, a new job, a new home, everything. Pretty much the entire movie takes place within Fred's head. When the movie opens, Fred has already killed Renee and he starts creating an alternate reality. He infuses his own reality with tiny portions of the truth, so some of what we see is actually based on fact, but the majority is what Fred is creating inside his own head. A very important line in the movie is when Fred and Renee are explaining to the police why they don't own a video camera. Fred says he doesn't like them, that he "would rather remember things his way, not necessarily the way they happened" When Fred is imprisoned, his mental illness kicks into high gear. He is on death row, and any hope of escaping his nightmare (his real life) is lost. He is stuck in this cell until his death. His only way out is to completely escape to a new reality. This is when he essentially snaps and in his own mind, he takes on a new identity, Pete. The rest of the movie is him trying to live a life he finds more attractive. He is a young, good-looking guy, who has no trouble getting any woman he wants. Then he meets Alice (a now blonde Patricia Arquette), his alternate version of Renee. But, Fred is so sick, that even in the reality that he is creating, Alice becomes a product of his paranoia, eventually turning on him, declaring "you will never have me" while they are having sex and then getting up and walking away. This is the point in the movie, in the desert, when Fred decides to abandon this alternate reality and he reappears and Pete disappears. The last scene of the movie is Fred being chased by the police down the highway as he begins to transform again, just like in the prison cell. This reality didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to, and now he is out there somewhere, living a new life again. Let's hope this one worked out for him! ?Robert BlakeThe mystery man is truly the most fascinating aspect of this movie. In my opinion, he is Fred's idea of the devil. He has supernatural powers and he feeds off the sins of mortals. The scene at the party is one of the creepiest movie scenes I've seen, yet at the same time it is hilarious. The way the music and party noise fade when the mystery man and Fred walk up to each other created a bizarre and surreal exchange. Another great scene of the movie is when Mr. Eddy and the mystery man call Pete together. "Yeah Pete, I just wanted to jump back on and let you know I'm glad your ok!" Click. That was great. And of course, I can't talk about the great scenes in the movie without mentioning the "tailgating" scene. Robert Loggia (Mr. Eddy) is a master.ConclusionKeeping in mind David's use of psychogenic fugue as the main characters mental illness, the movie is actually very simple. Watching the movie again, keeping this all in mind, is an entirely new experience. The first several times I watched it I was intrigued by the puzzle. Now, watching the movie, I can relax, stop trying to figure out how everything relates to everything else, and watch what is actually happening. I suggest, if you are a fan of the movie and haven't seen it in a while, or if you learned some new things here, then go back and watch it again. You will realize more than ever that David Lynch is brilliant, a master of the avant-garde."
Canadian Version is Terrible! Not worth your $
James B. | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/21/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The movie itself is fantastic. Lost Highway is a beautifully designed film executed with skill in every area. See it. However, the Canadian DVD release is probably the worst DVD I have ever seen. For starters it is in 4:3 ration instead of widescreen 16:9. Secondly, the film transfer is terrible. It almost looks worse than VHS. Truly a terrible picture. Sound is just fine although nothing special. Judge for yourself, but I think you would be better off waiting for an American release (hopefully with widescreen and significantly better picture quality)."
Another review of the German DVD
Wing J. Flanagan | Orlando, Florida United States | 08/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are able to play Region 2 PAL discs (as I am), the German edition of Lost Highway on DVD is the way to go. The English soundtrack is included in Dolby 5.1, and (unlike the Canadian edition) it's in W-I-D-E-S-C-R-E-E-N. Another review of this disc convinced me to purchase a copy from Amazon.de. Surpisingly, Amazon.de recognized my Amazon.com login! And placing the order was pretty easy, even though my German is almost non-existant.The picture and sound quality are good (though not exquisite), and the disc even has some extras - which, on Lynch DVDs, are usually scarce. The sound track does appear to be slightly out of sync with the picture, but that could be an artifact of converting PAL to NTSC on the fly. What I wouldn't give for a multi-standard widescreen monitor...The film itself is a dark psychological study similar in many ways to David Lynch's more recent Mulholland Drive. It's about obsession, murder, guilt, secret identities, and the demons that often drive people to desparate, destructive acts. Don't try to make sense of it the first time through; just go with it. Then, on repeat viewings, look at it as a symbolic map of a man's mind stressed beyond the breaking point. Apply a little Jungian psychology, and its meaning should, if not exactly come clear, at least brush past you close enough to touch.Lost Highway is an underrated masterpiece of psychological horror, and not to be missed by fans of David Lynch! C'mon, you can get through the German..."
Worst DVD ever
james | New York, NY United States | 02/28/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I had been waiting so long for this movie - probably my favourite David Lynch - to come out on DVD that I grabbed the Canadian import the moment I saw it... unfortunately it is by far the worst quality commercial DVD I have ever seen. The format is pan-and-scan (i.e. 4:3 ratio) only and the image quality is appalling. The sound (Dolby, supposedly) is little better. It is basically unwatchable. Another user review says that the DVD is somewhat better than VHS - I would say the image quality is on par with VHS, and certainly not worth the four stars that reviewer gave it; I cannot imagine how any DVD could be worse than this one.I am sure that David Lynch had nothing to do with this hastily cobbled together sham. He fine tunes his DVDs (even to the extent of removing chapters from "The Straight Story") and I am sure he would be furious to see his movie butchered in this way.This DVD is of the quality I would expect if I bought the damn thing from a street vendor in Shanghai; ..."
No Widescreen, Great Otherwise
Proffy B | Las Vegas, NV United States | 08/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, this was probably my favorite movie until Lynch's Mulholland Drive came out.It's the sort of title where, if you're thinking about buying it, you've probably already seen it. You either love it in the way you love your favorite dream, or wish you hadn't wasted two hours of your life. For that reason, I don't see much use in discussing this exceptional film.As for the DVD itself: Don't expect extras.No problem there--a psychological masterpiece such as this deserves to stand on its own. Extras always sound nice, but they usually consist of some director with an overly-inflated ego trying to make his work sound like something more than a diversion while munching popcorn. Usually, the popcorn is better.Lynch allows his movie stand on its own. It not only stands, it walks, runs, and grabs you by the collar. Great stuff.Some reviewers noted a lack of sound quality. Probably, they have better sound systems than I do, and mine isn't all that bad. In a nutshell, the Lost Highway DVD is *far* better than the video release in terms of sound. I didn't get to see Lost Highway at the theater, so my first spin of the DVD was like hearing the movie for the first time. Wow. The soundtrack brings a new dimension to the movie.The only reason I knocked a star off the rating was for the image. The overall image quality is pretty good, better than my VHS copy, but the decision not to present it in wide-screen was a bad one. No...it was an ignorant one. The film was clearly shot with a wide-screen ratio in mind. I don't know what the heck people were thinking. As my dad would say, "They weren't."To me, sound and vision are the fundamentals of a film, with "plot" a distant third. (If plot is your main concern, grab a book--print media won't hurt you!) Without widescreen, you miss a couple of things, but more importantly, certain shots just don't look the way they should.Maybe in ten years, someone will release a nice box set of all of David Lynch's films as they were meant to be seen and heard, similar to the fantastic Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski collection. In the meantime, this is a good DVD."