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Overall Rating
3.01

Awesome29.81%
Worth A Look: 14.42%
Average: 7.69%
Pretty Bad: 23.08%
Total Crap: 25%

5 reviews, 74 user ratings


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Lost Highway
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Probably for Lynch fans only; others beware."
4 stars

In David Lynch's "Lost Highway," we get to know an L.A. jazz hipster named Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), who suspects his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) of cheating on him. Renee is murdered -- cut into pieces -- and a confused Fred is tried and convicted. In his cell, Fred (who's been having headaches) somehow changes into a young mechanic named Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) -- and we're into a whole other story.

Or are we? Pete, who fixes cars for mobster Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia), falls for Mr. Eddy's moll Alice -- played by Patricia Arquette again. There's also a Mystery Man (a ghastly Robert Blake) who can be in two places at once and seems to function as a monitor/puppetmaster, like the lever-pulling Man in the Planet in Lynch's seminal Eraserhead. The movie demands patience and attention, and some viewers may not feel it's a fair trade. In Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, Lynch set up a mystery and then sprinkled surreal oddities onto it. Lost Highway is all oddities, and the mystery is the film itself.

Most Lynch fans, I think, will much prefer the first half, and not only because Balthazar Getty is sullenly inexpressive and annoyingly "cool" -- a rebel without a pulse. The Fred section is doomy and deliberately paced, heavy with voluptuous erotic dread; the languid nothingness sucks you in. The Pete section is noisy and overwrought, with occasional bursts of thrash metal and freakish violence, such as death by coffee table -- which seems meant to be funnier than it is. (It's staged poorly, or maybe it was trimmed to avoid an NC-17 rating.)

Yet even the weak second half offers distinctively Lynchian pleasures. When Alice is forced to strip at gunpoint, our response is divided between moral disgust and detached appreciation of Lynch's pristine composition of the shot (the cinematography, by Peter Deming, is superb throughout). When Mr. Eddy assaults a tailgater, it's the movie's comic high point, but we also feel sorry for the poor pistol-whipped victim. Lynch was a wizard at this comic-horror stuff years before Quentin Tarantino cut off that cop's Blue Velvet ear in Reservoir Dogs.

Lost Highway is a movie about divisions, so it's fitting that we come away from it with mixed feelings. Some may prefer the faster, more lurid Pete section and find Fred's half boring. Lynch himself seems split between artist and entertainer. In the climax, a chaotic seizure in which the literal and the symbolic collide, Lynch is a capital-A Artist who can't, or won't, bring the movie together in any satisfying way. He expects us to do it. Lynch is courting audience hostility here in a way he hasn't since Eraserhead, which at least was wacko from the start. Lost Highway begins conventionally and then takes a hard left. The defiant strangeness reminded me of Alex Cox's career-ending doodles Straight to Hell and Walker (both of which I liked).

I enjoyed much of Lost Highway, though I hesitate to recommend it to the uninitiated. It's classic Lynch -- a metaphysical horror movie about the dark mysteries of sex. I was enthralled even when I was baffled. Yet many Lynch fans may find it depressing.

"Lost Highway" is mesmerizing yet cold and remote -- an exotic fish we can't touch. Instead of connecting with us, David Lynch now wants to withdraw into his brilliant void, and he doesn't care whether we go with him.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=285&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/28/06 11:11:04
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User Comments

8/05/14 bxunqypllba USA 5 stars
4/13/14 PAUL SHORTT SORDID, STRANGE AND SPOOKY 2 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Time travel,mutating into someone else. WOW! 4 stars
7/04/10 brian Wha? 3 stars
12/24/09 Jeff Wilder Great score but incomprehensible. Lynch's weakest effort. 2 stars
11/26/09 Artemis B Gone Brilliant film. One of my favorites of all time. Did MP think he was being clever? 5 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Yikes!Sad to see Lynch parodying himself unintentionally.Mediocre excrement! 2 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
12/24/07 mr.mike just watched it a third time , i am adding a star 3 stars
10/13/07 Ronald Newbold Not a film everyone will "get" but if you do it will always remain a favorite 5 stars
7/31/07 William Goss Two barely compelling halves come to little fruition. More watchable than satisfying. 3 stars
7/22/07 ben dover very strange great rammstein music though 4 stars
6/10/07 Bob Greatr Lynchian mindf*ck. Incredible flick. 5 stars
6/02/07 fools♫gold I didn't especially love it; hell, I even like "Eternal Sunshine" JUST A BIT better. 7/10 3 stars
12/31/06 mr.mike my least favorite lynch film 2 stars
10/27/06 Isaac Baranoff My favorite Lynch film. 5 stars
2/23/06 jp with love from david lynch 4 stars
10/25/05 ShadowFace5 It's a thinking man's movie and a damn good one. 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Lynch the man who still, somehow makes movies despite this 1 stars
6/21/05 R god forbid you fill in the fucking blanks. "i have to participate, so it's amateurish!" 5 stars
6/10/05 Indrid Cold All the atmosphere with no substance; Lynch at his worst. 2 stars
5/24/05 Mike Lynch disappearing up his own ass or a timeless avantgarde masterpiece? I can't decide. 3 stars
2/13/05 Mike Lynch a talented director doing the same, surreal style with no substance every time. 1 stars
1/05/05 dave t anyone else feel like the main character at the end? extremely interesting film from lynch. 5 stars
9/26/04 Naka Lynch tries waaaaay too hard with this pretentious, overly-surreal nonsense. 1 stars
8/15/04 jmsynth there was a time when Mr Lynch made clever films... that actually made sense 1 stars
6/18/04 Aftermath3.14 Lost Highway = $h1t 1 stars
6/05/04 MyGreenBed Makes "Mulholland" look like the joke that it is. Still has it's flaws. Interesting. 3 stars
5/28/04 Guido Egas Brilliant movie, but too gloomy and surreal for some people. This is D. Lynch at his best! 5 stars
1/17/04 John a good set up and eerie as you'd expect from Lynch but what does it all mean? 2 stars
12/06/03 Brian great film, this movie opened my mind to what movies CAN be, unbound and amazing 5 stars
10/14/03 John Linton Roberson How you feel when you finish a jigsaw but the last piece is deliberately missing. 4 stars
8/29/03 dtom challenging...not for literalists. 5 stars
5/26/03 .Choadushouse. Made me want to kill myself, and thats a GOOD THING! 5 stars
5/25/03 John40 Only Mulholland Drive tops this masterpiece 5 stars
5/05/03 Freddi Only Lynch can make nonsenses look great 5 stars
3/07/03 y2mckay Whether you understand fuck-all about it or not - still an awesome movie 5 stars
3/07/03 Dr. Bitterpants Too bad Lynch doesn't care about his work or the audience. Never did, never will. SUCKERS! 1 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby A fine beginning gives way to a pretentiously obscure follow-through. A real disappointment 2 stars
5/29/02 T-Money visually stunning. even better after you figure out what its about. not for all audiences 5 stars
5/15/02 SIGB just watch it - nothing I could possibly add to that 5 stars
4/18/02 Film Dude Made me want to kill myself. 1 stars
3/09/02 fi0na one of my biggest favs. I love it to death. 5 stars
3/07/02 ZenMasterFlash Took two tries to understand the story, but that's OK. A dark and surreal delight. 5 stars
11/27/01 Ian Barr Gets better on each viewing 4 stars
11/04/01 E-Funk Lynch's best since 'Peaks'. This movie is stimulating in every fashion and quite scary. 5 stars
11/03/01 Spankachu this movie is weird, really fucking weird 1 stars
6/07/01 King Jackass WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?!?!?!? 1 stars
5/26/01 Basil One of my favorite movies. 5 stars
5/08/01 weird v2.0 Mind-blowing, turns your brains 'on'. 5 stars
5/01/01 Morgie huh? 2 stars
4/15/01 Fafafoey Underrated mastpiece. Lynch is master of mood and environment. Underrated. 5 stars
3/24/01 Jay Gunn Bizzare, but intriging. A must see 5 stars
3/08/01 Jason Butler An eastern mythic take on true punishment. 5 stars
3/07/01 Mike Most people like shit like American Pie before art! 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Another underappreciated Lynch film...Excellent, yet hollow. 4 stars
11/03/00 Cristopher Revilla WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? 21ST CENTURY NOIR?! BULLSHIT, BLUE VELVET IS BETTER! OR DID I .... 1 stars
10/17/00 Jorn L Excellent movie... requires a brain or an open mind to enjoy. 5 stars
5/31/00 the Grinch "Dick Laurent", Fred, and Pete are same person. Crone, Mother, Daughter. A logical nightmar 4 stars
12/26/99 katsumi puerile 2 stars
6/09/99 Elizaveta I don't really feel like trying to understand...indifference... 3 stars
5/27/99 GothamDK Typical Lynch. 2nd viewing is the charm. Better than Stone's U-Turn crap. 4 stars
5/26/99 iyu Boring, pretentious bullshit. At least Blue Velvet made you uncomfortable. 1 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson If David Lynch was a rapper his name would be the Genius-psyche this movie sucked hard! 2 stars
2/18/99 Bishop What is wrong with David Lynch here? This film has no meaning, is it supposed to? 1 stars
1/22/99 TB David Lynch confuses "artsy" and "bad" frequently..... this ones a piece of shit 1 stars
11/24/98 Fred Sex galore, but what the hell was Trent thinking to bless this ... God knows what it was? 2 stars
11/15/98 Barrie Best film of 97. It has shitloads of meaning and metaphor. Incredible visuals. 5 stars
10/18/98 Tuxedo Steve I understand it. Email me - n2350947@sparrow.qut.edu.au for the solution. Loved it, BTW. 5 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee I sont comply with this "it's Lynch so it's ok" theory. I *WANT* to understand it. 1 stars
8/23/98 Superfly I give it this rating simply because it's different... very different. 4 stars
8/17/98 Johny Lynch rules, just watch and don't look for linear plot 5 stars
8/17/98 Miss Stress david lynch confuses the fuck out of me again, no big whoop! 3 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} Very Lynch. Very weird. Completely lost. Beat head on desk. Me die now. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Feb-1997 (R)
  DVD: 25-Mar-2007

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