Lost Highway (1997)

Lost-Higway-01For some reason, I’ve developed a bit of a taste for weird and unusual films, so I naturally came across a film by David Lynch called “Lost Highway”. I previously saw another of his films, Blue Velvet, which I enjoyed quite thoroughly. Naturally, I thought that this film would be just as scintillating, but I found the film to be somewhat wanting, mainly because of its overly slow pace.

The film’s story appears to be split into two. At first, the film focuses on a jazz musician who is worried that his wife Renée is having an affair, only to find himself accused of murdering her. Then, in a parallel story, a young mechanic is seduced by a gangster’s mistress. The two stories are linked by the presence of a mysterious man, and the fact that both women may be the same.

At first, it won’t seem as if the two stories are essentially the same. If anything, it seemed as if it as all a single story, which it kind of is, but it seems to me like David Lynch was just in the mood for mindfuckery for its own sake. Seriously, parts of the film don’t make any sense, especially the final act. The film also suffers from such a slow start that for the first 15 minutes, it seems as if nothing was actually happening. If you ask me, the story didn’t start to get interesting until we enter the parallel story.

I kind of think that Lost Highway is thematically similar to Blue Velvet. Both of them relish in a kind of voyeuristic sexuality, but in this film, the protagonist is presented with two different world – the horror of having jealous thoughts swimming in your mind until you find your wife dead and thinking you might have killed her, and the wonder of a woman taking you into her world, and wanting you to help her escape it. Of course, there’s also the other dimension, where the aforementioned woman leaves you twisting in the wind, and you find out what’s really happening.

The acting, meanwhile, was very good. Patricia Arquette, who plays the two women who are in fact the same woman, manages to play both roles with subtlety, with a convincing an ably evocative performance. Robert Loggia, in my opinion, was a fine choice to play the gangster Mr. Eddy (later revealed to be an amateur porn producer named Dick Laurent), and he delivers a very forward and sharp performance that perhaps befitted his character. I must wonder how things might have gone if he had secured his desired role in Blue Velvet. Robert Blake, meanwhile, delivers a suitably creepy performance as the mystery men, and even though his character still didn’t make sense in the end, at least he can convey his character well.

This is the kind of film that succeeds more in terms of style than in terms of substance. High-quality production values aside, the film also has an amazing musical score composed of a number of different styles of music (the film opens with David Bowie’s splendid “I’m Deranged”). I also like the the fact that they at least used the highway to bookend the film (appearing in the title and credits sequence), because I honestly thought the title was making no sense. Despite its flaws, however, I thought this was at least an interesting film because of its merits, though I remain disappointed overall.

  • Score: 66%
  • Grade: C
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