David Lynch will always confuse me, but I think that’s his intention with films like Lost Highway, a movie that throws narrative structure and contemporary storytelling out of the window. Instead, it focuses on freaking out its audience as best it can, and that’s exactly what it does. But there’s only so far that can carry you, and Lost Highway is a keen example of how thrilling visuals and mysterious characters can pull a load of weight, but can never replace a solid and formed story.
With a dual leading performance from Bill Pullman and Balthazar Getty, the films second half is by far its most perplexing and intense. Pullman’s hour in the spotlight exudes a thrilling energy, the seeds of the second hour of the film are planted nicely, introducing us to some key characters and setting the unsettling tone in just the right way. Pullman and Patricia Arquette have some superbly icy scenes together as they begin to search out who exactly stalks their house in the middle of the night. These scenes escalate in some unexpected ways, but for the most part you can see where the film is going, and it bridges us nicely into the second hour.
Pullman is great as the cold, hard working jazz musician Fred Madison. But it’s definitely the performance Getty presents us as Pete Dayton that impresses me most. His chemistry with those around him and the genuine shock he seems to be going through replicates my response to most of his scenes rather well. He’s along for the ride, but how much he understands is completely immeasurable. I feel like that’s the Lynch stereotype, he wants to confuse his audience, to freak them out in a twisted and decrepit fashion. It works here moreso than it did in Blue Velvet, which seemingly had somewhat of a roughly guided story.
Lynch’s direction and camera movement here is stunning, a great display of his work on the whole and I’d recommend Lost Highway as a starting point for his work thus far. A killer soundtrack featuring the likes of David Bowie and Leonard Cohen truly seal the deal for this film experience. Well-rounded in giving you a taste of what David Lynch has to offer, while at the same time providing some interesting, albeit extremely loose and confusing storylines. It’s the full Lynch package, and I enjoyed nearly every minute of it.