Lost Highway (1997)

 This reviewer had written a review of Eyes Wide Shut he thought too controversial for airing. Now the same crisis of both taste and frame of reference arises with this movie, one that reaches beyond the curtains most care to draw long before the full import of such a film’s impact can be felt. Before the public can gather just how far the excesses of the privileged can go, how far into the occult of sexual/psychic practices obscene devotion to self-indulgence can run.

Here is a movie beyond any telling by plot or chronology. Those reviewers that have tried have failed miserably. Like with Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, its unraveling requires an elevated grasp of the occult and essential knowledge of belief systems that sublimate sexual energy to  be an almost universe unto itself. A wasteland for the romantic of the Western world, in this arena, power becomes the degradation of ideal. And the ultimate freeing of the mind is only obtained by denying any dearness to intimacy. Sex itself exploits all other attainments, in turn reducing down to utter materialism at any and every opportunity to betray the slightest feeling.

Lost Highway, however, is not about such a monstrosity alone for it introduces its viewer to an almost saving grace, an atonement human outrage alone can find resort in settling accounts towards natural balance. Unlike as with Eyes Wide Shut, we will not walk away left impotent and feeling no recourse possible. And at the very end, we will hope in further transmogrification of our hero.

The mystifying beauty of Patricia Arquette in the roles of Rene Madison/Alice Wakefield and her gifted seductress performance helps attain the focal point through which all this sexual/psychic scenario comes about. A woman not to be taken at the point of a gun without frightful consequence, she is the Clytemnestra to bring Agamemnon to his knees. The serving of the role of Fred Madison by Bill Pullman is the best dramatic performance by him seen in this reviewer’s recollection, almost defining. The casting of Robert Blake as the Mystery Man, an almost demon-like entity, is inspired while the role of a concerned parent played by Gary Busey is an interesting novelty well served. Balthazar Getty, as Pete Dayton, gives such a performance one wonders why he hasn’t had more starring roles in the last ten years.

Director/writer David Lynch (unsurprising) shows incredible ability with scene choice knowing full well sometimes less is more. By confining sets to bare minimum he is able to more perfectly control the atmosphere he wants and to bring about more poignantly both suspense and tonal flavor. His changes with respect to those “flash-backs” and “flash-forwards” (more evident in this film) are masterful.

The series of events transpiring are complex and do require close attention. Use pause if you take any breaks. Riveting enough, the scene changes are well held together and one will find themselves at no end for suspense. Just don’t give up on all things adding up. Even though they may seem unable to reach resolution, they do.

Too intense for children, too sexual for the impressionable (like me,) nudity too lovely, and language pretty strong.

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