The Hollywood Dream: Interpretations of Mulholland Drive.

In 2001, David Lynch released Mulholland Drive, a lavish, perplexing dreamscape of a film and a film that laid itself wide open to countless levels of interpretation as to exactly what is going on. It all starts fairly conventionally, suckering is into thinking it has some kind of wholly conventional mystery formula in its narrative as the amnesiac “Rita” is aided by the well meaning aspiring actress “Betty” to piece together who she is. This facade of linear narrative is flipped completely on its head a little over halfway through to find the characters now with completely different names and relationships to one another, “Betty” now revealed to be Diane, a jaded, washed up actress on the brink of collapse following an affair with established actress Camilla who in the first half of the film was “Rita”. Why are these people different characters at different points in the film? What is the purpose of the sinister Club Silencio? What was inside the blue box? These are amongst the many questions drummed up by Mulholland Drive.

The most logical, but by no means correct analogy is that “Betty” is Diane’s dream self, a bright and optimistic aspiring actress who’s life is created from aspects of Diane’s own waking life and driven from her perspective, Her real life that is not worth living anymore and she is instead haunted by a life that isn’t her own. There are of course other numerous layers that could be piled over and over analysed to the point of madness for example, many of the things experienced in the first half of the film could be explained away as non-sequiturs or even as the skewed logic of dreams. The real point of Mulholland Drive, as with a lot of David Lynch’s work is that it is open to your own interpretation, there is no right or wrong answer to what you perceive is going on. The best advice that can be given is submit, go with the flow, be swept along by it, by the end your head will be swimming with questions but I’m also going to wager that it will also be brimming with theories and interpretations of events and may Illicit many a return viewing but I feel it would be folly to over analyse something that doesn’t exist to be viewed to such a degree.

Mulholland Drive was released to rave reviews in 2001, hailed as one of Lynch’s strongest works to date that also won the director the prestigious Prix de la mise en scène at that years Canne film festival. Time has not dulled the allure of the film and it is still viewed to this day in many circles not only as one of Lynch’s strongest offerings but also as one of the greatest films of the 00’s, a plaudit that I wholeheartedly agree with.


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