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Plot is a meaningless term when trying to describe Lost Highway. Here, more or less, is what happens: A noise-jazz saxophonist (Bill Pullman) suspects his wife (Patricia Arquette) of infidelity. Meanwhile, someone is breaking into their house and videotaping them while they sleep. The wife is murdered and Pullman is convicted of the crime. Then, in prison, he transmogrifies into a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) who is subsequently released, since, after all, he's not the guy they convicted. Getty goes back to his life and meets a local gangster's moll, who happens to be played by Patricia Arquette... but none of this has much to do with what the movie is really about. Dreams are what intrigues director David Lynch. Not friendly, happy dreams; his dreams whisper that what we think is real is just something we made up, something to keep ourselves from falling into chaos. Characters are fragments. Events happen not because they make sense, but because deep down we want these things to happen. Of course, in Lynch's dreams, as in our waking lives, getting what we want is not always pleasant. In the movie's best moments, you really have no idea what you're seeing. The screen is a big rectangle of color and shadow, but what it represents, well, it could be anything. And yet, in those moments, you've been given just enough hints of place, character, and story that these elusive images elicit a genuine dread, a sense that you might not want to see this, yet you can't look away; a sense that we are living on borrowed time, that something is fiercely askew in our psyches. As a whole, Lost Highway is a failure: much of it is padded, gratuitous, and indulgent and pointless cameos bog down an already sluggish narrative. Yet within that failure are moments worth more than the entirety of most successful movies. --Bret Fetzer
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There is some grain in the dark scenes, but the lighter ones look pretty damn good to me.
I can’t compare the standard DVD pic quality to this because I can’t play them side by side, but this will definitely hold me over until they rerelease this properly on blu ray in the US.
Overall happy with this purchase.
Evil - so authentically personified by Robert Blake (last seen on trial for a real-world murder) - is resident in the heart and mind of a saxophonist brilliantly played by Bill Pullman (who was "Lone Star" in Spaceballs) and Patricia Arquette (last seen as the popular television series "Medium.") Robert Loggia is the gangster. Here their talents are not wasted, and neither is one minute of film. There are also some other actors. As always with Lynch there is brilliant humor if you appreciate his type of humor. Most memorably, the instructional driving lesson administered by the gangster Robert Loggia. The plot is simple like most Lynch plots once you understand that things experienced are not necessarily real. As a Lynch-O-phile I deciphered this one on first viewing, which doesnt mean that there are not remaining puzzles. The real point is to be carried by the tides of a story told with both emotional and intellectual clarity, and with a relentless momentum leading to a really terrifying collision of worlds real and unreal.
Skip the last paragraph if you prefer to figure things out your own way.
The saxophonist marries a former porn star. He recoils at sex with her, a problem amplified by jealousy when he sees her with a former friend/lover. Evil, personified by Blake, is invited into the house. Brutal murder, arrest,conviction and retreat into delusion (Lost Highway) and the delusional persona of young auto mechanic Eddy follow. However, the veil of delusion is pierced first by recollection of his own music, then by the reappearance of his murdered wife as gangster's moll. More things happen...
I think Lost Highway is easier to understand then people think.
In interviews with David Lynch, he talks about the OJ Simpson murder case, how, in his mind, OJ was indeed guilty, and what he must have to create in his mind to live a normal life after such a violent and horrific act.
Lynch also said, the film is “very much about psychogenic fugue” (now known as Dissociative fugue).
So, taking what Lynch said, and reading about the symptoms of Dissociative fugue, I have come up with my own interpratation of the movie.
The first shot we see, is Fred Madison’s (Bill Pullman) fugue (Latin for ‘flight’) as he drives the dark highway. The film has begun even as the credits roll, and Fred has already killed his wife and lover.
The entire film, save for the opening shot, and last scene where the cops have caught on, and are in hot pursuit, is happening in his mind.
The video images represent reality, something Fred wants to escape from; they show the evidence of his guilt. Fred re-interprets reality and invents identities. He wants to remember the events the way he likes to, “not necessarily the way it happened”.
All of this, the whole story in the film, is taking place in Fred’s mind, as he flees the scene in his car.
Fred is in a fugue state, until he slowly realizes, bit by bit, that he really did kill and dismember his wife.
So in the last scene, Fred is caught, and being chased by police, in real time. Fred’s fugue state ends in him completely freaking out, he is a monster, he can no longer escape into his idyllic ‘Pete’ fantasy.
The last shot is the total mental breakdown of Fred’s mind.
Anyway, until something better comes along, that’s how I read Lost Highway. It’s actually less complex then I thought on my first viewing.
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