398 of 433 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Highway FOUND
For many of you who saw Lost Highway, the meaning and interpretation of the film has eluded you. If you are anything like me, you spent hours reviewing the movie, thumb on the pause button, notebook in lap! The beauty of the film truly lies in it's mystery. It is a work of art, and as with any artistic expression, the piece is left open for interpretation by all...
Published on July 29, 2000 by David Jamieson
196 of 211 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Canadian Version is Terrible! Not worth your $
The movie itself is fantastic. Lost Highway is a beautifully designed film executed with skill in every area. See it. However, the Canadian DVD release is probably the worst DVD I have ever seen. For starters it is in 4:3 ration instead of widescreen 16:9. Secondly, the film transfer is terrible. It almost looks worse than VHS. Truly a terrible picture. Sound is...
Published on September 20, 2002 by James B.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
398 of 433 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Highway FOUND,
This review is from: Lost Highway [VHS] (VHS Tape)
For many of you who saw Lost Highway, the meaning and interpretation of the film has eluded you. If you are anything like me, you spent hours reviewing the movie, thumb on the pause button, notebook in lap! The beauty of the film truly lies in it's mystery. It is a work of art, and as with any artistic expression, the piece is left open for interpretation by all. Each persons opinion or conclusion neither being right or wrong. My original ideas included comparing Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield (Patricia Arquette) to a modern day Eve, working with the devil/mystery man (Robert Blake) as she lured the men in the movie into sin. My other major theory was that the main characters in the movie at one point sold their souls to the devil, and he held total control over their fate, drawing them into his den and forcing them to do his dirty work, i.e. porn, murder, etc.
Well, my interpretations were all well and good, but I was interested in what was going through the mind of David Lynch and Barry Gifford when they wrote the movie. I did a little research, and this is what I found...
The idea for this movie came to David Lynch while reading a book by Barry Gifford called Night People. In the book, Barry uses the term "lost highway" and those words sparked an idea in David's head. From this early point, David knew he wanted to make a movie about the unknown. He contacted Barry, and they set out to write the movie.
If any of you are wondering if Fred actually killed Renee, the answer is yes. Fred lived in constant fear of loosing Renee, constant fear that she was cheating on him, and most importantly, constant fear of her past. He loved Renee, but at the same time hated her. Whenever he saw her, he saw her past. Sex with Renee was a torturous reminder of her experience in porn, making it impossible for him to even finish. Eventually, he just snapped. If you watch the movie again, pause it at the point where he watches the final video tape, and jog slowly over the portion where we see Renee's body. You will see what kind of anger and rage exploded inside Fred when he killed her. Her torso is ripped apart, her upper and lower body are completely separated and her hand is cut off and lying on the bed. Continue to jog slowly and you will see Fred stare directly into the camera with a piercing, maniacal gaze.
Psychogenic fugue is an existing mental condition in which the subject, wanting to escape reality, creates a new reality inside their head. The person will create new friends, a new job, a new home, everything. Pretty much the entire movie takes place within Fred's head. When the movie opens, Fred has already killed Renee and he starts creating an alternate reality. He infuses his own reality with tiny portions of the truth, so some of what we see is actually based on fact, but the majority is what Fred is creating inside his own head. A very important line in the movie is when Fred and Renee are explaining to the police why they don't own a video camera. Fred says he doesn't like them, that he "would rather remember things his way, not necessarily the way they happened"
When Fred is imprisoned, his mental illness kicks into high gear. He is on death row, and any hope of escaping his nightmare (his real life) is lost. He is stuck in this cell until his death. His only way out is to completely escape to a new reality. This is when he essentially snaps and in his own mind, he takes on a new identity, Pete. The rest of the movie is him trying to live a life he finds more attractive. He is a young, good-looking guy, who has no trouble getting any woman he wants. Then he meets Alice (a now blonde Patricia Arquette), his alternate version of Renee.
But, Fred is so sick, that even in the reality that he is creating, Alice becomes a product of his paranoia, eventually turning on him, declaring "you will never have me" while they are having sex and then getting up and walking away. This is the point in the movie, in the desert, when Fred decides to abandon this alternate reality and he reappears and Pete disappears.
The last scene of the movie is Fred being chased by the police down the highway as he begins to transform again, just like in the prison cell. This reality didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to, and now he is out there somewhere, living a new life again. Let's hope this one worked out for him! 
The mystery man is truly the most fascinating aspect of this movie. In my opinion, he is Fred's idea of the devil. He has supernatural powers and he feeds off the sins of mortals. The scene at the party is one of the creepiest movie scenes I've seen, yet at the same time it is hilarious. The way the music and party noise fade when the mystery man and Fred walk up to each other created a bizarre and surreal exchange. Another great scene of the movie is when Mr. Eddy and the mystery man call Pete together. "Yeah Pete, I just wanted to jump back on and let you know I'm glad your ok!" Click. That was great. And of course, I can't talk about the great scenes in the movie without mentioning the "tailgating" scene. Robert Loggia (Mr. Eddy) is a master.
Keeping in mind David's use of psychogenic fugue as the main characters mental illness, the movie is actually very simple. Watching the movie again, keeping this all in mind, is an entirely new experience. The first several times I watched it I was intrigued by the puzzle. Now, watching the movie, I can relax, stop trying to figure out how everything relates to everything else, and watch what is actually happening. I suggest, if you are a fan of the movie and haven't seen it in a while, or if you learned some new things here, then go back and watch it again. You will realize more than ever that David Lynch is brilliant, a master of the avant-garde.
196 of 211 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Canadian Version is Terrible! Not worth your $,
The movie itself is fantastic. Lost Highway is a beautifully designed film executed with skill in every area. See it. However, the Canadian DVD release is probably the worst DVD I have ever seen. For starters it is in 4:3 ration instead of widescreen 16:9. Secondly, the film transfer is terrible. It almost looks worse than VHS. Truly a terrible picture. Sound is just fine although nothing special. Judge for yourself, but I think you would be better off waiting for an American release (hopefully with widescreen and significantly better picture quality).
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Lynch Film,
I hate to be a spoiler, but some of these reviews just don't give Lynch the respect he deserves. If I've missed a review that covers all of this, I apologize.
Most of this film takes place in Fred Madison's mind while he's being electrocuted in the chair. Ever wonder why all the mysterious flashing blue light sprinkles the movie? The lightning? What about the bloody noses? What about the flickering lights?
What about when Pete's face is burnt and bruising? His buddy just says he's not looking so good, and his response is that he hasn't been feeling well lately. Is there dream logic in this film? Sure, considering that dreams come from the subconscious, which is where Fred is hiding during that infinite moment of death, trying to justify his actions. He is no longer the emasculated husband, but a young stud, who is so irresistible that a gangster's wife, who's likely to be killed for cheating, is willing to risk it.
Fred literally cut his wife in half. Do you think it's a coincidence that There are 2 of her in his fantasy? One is the woman he thought he married, the other is a whore.
Who's voice says that Dick Laraunt is dead in the intercom at the beginning? That's right, The guy with the phone, Robert Blake. Who is this guy? He's Fred's dark side, the one who does these things for him. For Twin Peak fans, this is Bob.. And I also believe it's the Homeless Man from Mulholland Drive. "He's the one who's making it happen." When Fred asks him who he is, he responds with the same question.
Remember when the gun changes hands at the end? Mystery man disappears... he was never there. Who speaks into the intercom at the end? Fred. Case closed. It's the same incident as the first intercom line. This is not reality. It only happened once.
Why doesn't Fred like videotapes? Because he likes to remember things his own way. Thus, the method of storytelling is revealed. The video tapes are the truth, the rest is an elaborate fantasy that Fred has conjured up to deal with remorse, guilt, and betrayal.
What is it that happened the other night? Why won't his parents tell him? He killed Renee, but he doesn't remember at this point.. he's blocked it out. I submit to you that the ENTIRE film occurs while Fred is in the chair.
Lynch takes out the one scene that would pull everything into perspective - Fred sitting down for the last time. This movie is quite similar to Mulholland Drive. Many may consider me to be reading way too much into this movie.. Ok.. Go watch it again. You'll see.... You'll see.
If you still doubt, join David Lynch.com and visit the member questions. When asked if there is any hope for Fred Madison, lynch replied to the effect of, 'yes, there's always hope to escape the vicious circles of life and death.' Think about it.
97 of 111 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another review of the German DVD,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you are able to play Region 2 PAL discs (as I am), the German edition of Lost Highway on DVD is the way to go. The English soundtrack is included in Dolby 5.1, and (unlike the Canadian edition) it's in W-I-D-E-S-C-R-E-E-N. Another review of this disc convinced me to purchase a copy from Amazon.de. Surpisingly, Amazon.de recognized my Amazon.com login! And placing the order was pretty easy, even though my German is almost non-existant.
The picture and sound quality are good (though not exquisite), and the disc even has some extras - which, on Lynch DVDs, are usually scarce. The sound track does appear to be slightly out of sync with the picture, but that could be an artifact of converting PAL to NTSC on the fly. What I wouldn't give for a multi-standard widescreen monitor...
The film itself is a dark psychological study similar in many ways to David Lynch's more recent Mulholland Drive. It's about obsession, murder, guilt, secret identities, and the demons that often drive people to desparate, destructive acts. Don't try to make sense of it the first time through; just go with it. Then, on repeat viewings, look at it as a symbolic map of a man's mind stressed beyond the breaking point. Apply a little Jungian psychology, and its meaning should, if not exactly come clear, at least brush past you close enough to touch.
Lost Highway is an underrated masterpiece of psychological horror, and not to be missed by fans of David Lynch! C'mon, you can get through the German...
60 of 69 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst DVD ever,
I had been waiting so long for this movie - probably my favourite David Lynch - to come out on DVD that I grabbed the Canadian import the moment I saw it... unfortunately it is by far the worst quality commercial DVD I have ever seen.
The format is pan-and-scan (i.e. 4:3 ratio) only and the image quality is appalling. The sound (Dolby, supposedly) is little better. It is basically unwatchable. Another user review says that the DVD is somewhat better than VHS - I would say the image quality is on par with VHS, and certainly not worth the four stars that reviewer gave it; I cannot imagine how any DVD could be worse than this one.
I am sure that David Lynch had nothing to do with this hastily cobbled together sham. He fine tunes his DVDs (even to the extent of removing chapters from "The Straight Story") and I am sure he would be furious to see his movie butchered in this way.
This DVD is of the quality I would expect if I bought the damn thing from a street vendor in Shanghai; ...
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, disobedient, nauseating, and I liked it very much,
"Lost Highway" is not as linear, and thus satisfying to our narrative desire, as "Mulholland Drive" because it indeed seems to try too hard to be weird. But David Lynch is one of the only directors who understands how strangely dreamlike cinema itself can be. Like Hitchcock, he exploits this situation for all its worth, but in the manner of the classic surrealists, and I think this movie can be best experienced in the setting of an actual theater.
This film's terrain is even more deeply subconscious than "Mulholland Drive", because its ultimate subject seems to be the act of watching a narrative movie itself, as channeled through a paragon of truth in our society: Crime scene photos. This is what makes it interesting. It's so open-ended, though, that it allows every viewer their own personal interpretation, because the "surface plot" is mixed up with its own interpretative clues...My take is that Fred Madison believes he was convicted of murdering his wife based on the images contained in the last videotape which is delivered to he and Renee (Patricia Arquette); during the first act, the most crucial line is his declaration that he doesn't like cameras because he prefers to remember things his own way--"not necessarily the way they happened." This entire first section of the film is the way Fred remembers his life before being incarcerated, and takes place in the space of a second--after he is punched in the face by the arresting police officer. Believing in the mysterious tapes which preceded the murder is his way of trying to convince himself that he didn't do it--that the Mystery Man (Robert Blake as wifekiller--ironic, eh?) actually did.
The second part, less effective due to its lighter tone, is Madison's way of escaping the reality of the electric chair. The light above his cell flickers and buzzes as presumably someone is being executed, which triggers his fantasy of escaping by physically becoming another person. Yet even in the life of this younger man, Renee returns (as a double...?) and he is free to begin a life with her without the memory of his marriage, but learns the sordid truth about her life...The Mystery Man again shows up, this time helping him commit conscious murder of her former pimp--and allowing it to be videotaped to convince himself that this murder (which Fred may have committed before the movie begins) was right. But who the hell knows...The plot? I mapped this film out after I saw it the first time, and there are too many doubles of whose nature we as viewers cannot trust as either physical reality or mental projection. Each interpretation points at the other--like the Moebius strip Lynch claims the film embodies. It's more like a puzzle structured around themes, mostly a subtext involving photography--the photo of the twins, the porn movies, the creepy videotapes which show up on their doorstep like evil calling cards.
Be sure to get a letterboxed version of this film; Lynch's visual compositions are based upon horizontal angles all throughout, and there are many extreme close-ups in which the tops of heads are truncated (for some malevolent intent, I'm sure). The cinematography is great, and the sound track (not the music, but the atmospherics which Lynch always meticulously makes himself) is as important as the images, just as in "Eraserhead."
And after watching a particular scene in this film, you'll be very careful around glass tables with sharp edges for the rest of your life...
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS DVD!!!,
I bought this DVD without noticing it wasn't widescreen because the store sticker was on top of the info. I was pretty mad when I got home and realized this. Then I sat down to watch it. I got hysterical. This is the worst DVD I have ever seen!!!! The compression looks like a bad internet stream, there's a faint white line that flashes randomly across the picture (like a ghost image), the sound is ordinary at best. I don't know who did this hack job but I certainly intend to find out and complain. I'm sure a high school kid with an iMac would've done a better job at compressing this movie. It honestly looks like a copy of a copy of a pirated copy!
David Lynch is one of my favorite directors and I just can't believe he approved this. If you need a Lynch fix, get Blue Velvet and wait for a "real" version of Lost Highway. This edition is absolute trash.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Widescreen, Great Otherwise,
Well, this was probably my favorite movie until Lynch's Mulholland Drive came out.
It's the sort of title where, if you're thinking about buying it, you've probably already seen it. You either love it in the way you love your favorite dream, or wish you hadn't wasted two hours of your life. For that reason, I don't see much use in discussing this exceptional film.
As for the DVD itself: Don't expect extras.
No problem there--a psychological masterpiece such as this deserves to stand on its own. Extras always sound nice, but they usually consist of some director with an overly-inflated ego trying to make his work sound like something more than a diversion while munching popcorn. Usually, the popcorn is better.
Lynch allows his movie stand on its own. It not only stands, it walks, runs, and grabs you by the collar. Great stuff.
Some reviewers noted a lack of sound quality. Probably, they have better sound systems than I do, and mine isn't all that bad. In a nutshell, the Lost Highway DVD is *far* better than the video release in terms of sound. I didn't get to see Lost Highway at the theater, so my first spin of the DVD was like hearing the movie for the first time. Wow. The soundtrack brings a new dimension to the movie.
The only reason I knocked a star off the rating was for the image. The overall image quality is pretty good, better than my VHS copy, but the decision not to present it in wide-screen was a bad one. No...it was an ignorant one. The film was clearly shot with a wide-screen ratio in mind. I don't know what the heck people were thinking. As my dad would say, "They weren't."
To me, sound and vision are the fundamentals of a film, with "plot" a distant third. (If plot is your main concern, grab a book--print media won't hurt you!) Without widescreen, you miss a couple of things, but more importantly, certain shots just don't look the way they should.
Maybe in ten years, someone will release a nice box set of all of David Lynch's films as they were meant to be seen and heard, similar to the fantastic Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski collection. In the meantime, this is a good DVD.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Print is utter crap,
First off...be aware. Even though it isn't stated anywhere explicitly on the page, this item is PAN & SCAN. That's what an aspect ratio of 1.33/1 means. I missed that.
Second, the print is total crap. It's completely grainy, and it looks like it was transferred from VHS. Stay away and look for another version of this DVD.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally - Lost Highway on DVD!,
This review is from: Lost Highway (DVD)
Universal finally got around to releasing Lynch's "Lost Highway" on DVD! Most of you are already well aware that there was never a proper domestic release of the film. It was available from Canada in a hideous pan and scan version complete with terrible color and brightness levels that made the film difficult to watch.
Before discussing this particular DVD, I'd like to include a few comments on the film itself. There are a lot of people that will say this film makes no sense, that it's meaningless, or even pointless. I would like to counter that by saying, the film is full of meaning, but it's like a puzzle and you can't expect to figure it out on one or two viewings alone. There are so many fascinating details and connections that present themselves upon subsequent viewings that I really believe it's worth it to spend some time with "Lost Highway".
I don't want to give away plot information or even present some common interpretations of the film. At least 30% of the fun comes from post-viewing discussions where you and your friends attempt to make sense of the pieces. If you are just dying to get some easy answers, they're already covered in Lynch discussion boards all around the web. I'm much more interested in helping new viewers approach the film to get the most out of it on the first viewing.
I think the first viewing should be a purely sensual experience where you can take in the atmosphere and react to the film on a gut level. It's going to make you scratch your head, but it's such a wild ride that I think it's fun without even understanding everything. The second time you watch it, look for details - themes, motives, repetition - there are clues all over the place.
In interviews, Lynch admitted that he and Barry Gifford (the writer) included certain elements so that the film would *not* ever completely resolve, no matter how you put it together. Think of the blue box in "Mulholland Drive" - it's a fantastic element that probably exists only symbolically. If you separate certain features of "Mulholland Drive", the film eventually makes sense. The same goes for "Lost Highway" - there are real events, symbolic events, and imaginary events. A great first step is deciding in which category specific events fall.
Now onto this particular DVD release:
The rumor websites have been talking about a brand new 5.1 mix, and given Lynch's obsession with top-quality video, I'm hoping that this will be the best "Lost Highway" release ever. However, while this DVD will probably be a big step up in terms of quality and availability, I'm disappointed that Universal didn't do more. "Blade Runner" fans waited years for a proper DVD release, but they were eventually rewarded with a total of NINE different editions (including both HDDVD and Bluray) - why couldn't they at very least give "Lost Highway" fans a special edition? I have the Region 2 UK double-disc edition and it's great. The featurettes, interviews, and such are out there already, so why not include them?
The only real extra is a 10-part, multi-angle interview with Lynch. Since the Lynch interview on the Region 2 release is fairly brief, I'm guessing this is something new, recorded recently. Those familiar with Lynch know what to expect - he's going to tell interesting stories without explaining anything in the film. I'm sure it will be very cool, but what about the extra scenes that are floating around? Universal could have done a lot more.
"Lost Highway" is such a puzzling, but engaging film. I highly recommend it to any fan of Lynch's. It's not the best Lynch film to start with if you haven't seen any yet. It's not as straightforward as "Blue Velvet" and it's trickier than "Mulholland Drive", but it's got a wonderfully dark atmosphere that fills the screen with Lynchian dread. It's an experience. Enjoy.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Lost Highway by David Lynch (DVD - 2008)