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An intense experience
mst-221 June 1999
Clearly, as with most of David Lynch's films, Lost Highway is not for everyone. It is, as Lynch intended it to be, a film realization of a dream. In this regard, it is comparable, in terms of artistry and raw intensity to Kurosawa's _Dreams_. Indeed, in terms of sensory experience - cinematography and sound, for example - Kurosawa and Lynch have few rivals. However, the comparison falls away rather quickly in consideration of the film's content. Lost Highway is really no dream, but a nightmare.

Let's face it, like it or not, everything Lynch does is intentional. This film has inspired polarized reviews here on IMDB. Those looking for a plot-heavy movie that they do not necessarily have to pay attention to tend to despise it. Those who are open to allowing this manipulative, intensely disturbing and thought-provoking film to carry them into its own parcel of hell love it. This is, in my opinion, what good art can do.

Like a dream, Lost Highway has as many plots as it does viewers with their own individual interpretations and perspectives. It forces itself upon you with a vengeance, but simultaneously encourages the kind of disengagement you experience when you are conscious that you are dreaming.

I recommend Lost Highway highly. See it with intelligent, open-minded friends who like to talk about film experiences. And expect that the conversation will keep you up way past your bed time.
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You'll never have me - but we can try
cdimdb8 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Just watched this for the first time, and enjoyed it immensely. Some here have suggested that there's no 'real' story at all. I don't agree: Lynch doesn't work like that - no matter how bizarre and reticulated, there's a story there, all right, but you have to dig for it.

'Mulholland Drive' informs this film considerably. Having deconstructed that one to my satisfaction, I have a clearer view of how Lynch does things; how he shows us the elements, the language he uses, and what he leaves out for us to discover. So, then - *SPOILERS*, if I'm right:

As with MD, there's a big clue in the first few seconds: Fred is shown in close-up, looking thoroughly wrecked, smoking a cigarette unsteadily. There's a buzzing sound, and light sweeps across his face and the room. *The sound is one you'll become familiar with later, in the jailhouse.* Fred looks up, warily.

Major premise: I believe this scene shows Fred, in the last moments of his life, having his last cigarette before they come to take him to the chair. This may, in fact, be the only 'real' scene in the film, with everything else being Fred's distorted recollection, and the rest a psychotic break fantasy he constructs to escape from his grim situation.

As the door to his cell opens, Fred rejects the awfulness of reality, and transforms the buzz into the sound of his door intercom, and at this point we go into his personal flashback as the story continues.

The acting and dialogue is often stilted and unrealistic in this flashback. What we're seeing is Fred's recollection, which - as he himself says - is not necessarily the way it actually happened. His relationship with Renee is tense and unreal, with lots of suppressed rage. Cleverly, the undercurrents are conveyed mostly by the background sounds - listed in the credits as 'Ominous drones' - and these provide the significance that the dialogue alone would lack.

At the party scene several events take place: his suspicions about Renee and the impossibly sleazy - because he's seen through Fred's eyes - lounge-lizard Andy are effectively confirmed (for him). And he meets the 'Mystery Man', a devil-figure who tells Fred "You invited me (into your home). It is not my custom to go where I'm not wanted". I suspect that this figure is Fred's attempt to unload his guilt onto someone else: a 'devil who made him do it' - don't you have to invite the devil into your house? Perhaps he's the personification of Fred's insanity, or his jealousy. Or all of the above - all the dark influences in Fred's life and head.

As the flashback continues, we see the progression up to the point where he finally does murder Renee, horribly. Again he attempts to reject the reality by showing it all on video, but reality intrudes and a few seconds are shown of him 'really' sitting among the dismembered parts of his wife. His subsequent trial and sentencing are skipped over - they're a blur to Fred - and he winds up on Death Row.

Facing execution, and unable to tolerate his real state, Fred then creates a fantasy in which he escapes his fate by miraculously turning into another person - an innocent: young, enjoying a simple life, good at his simple job; with groovy, understanding parents and a pliable girlfriend.

The scenes around Fred's miraculous replacement are classic Lynch fantasy-made-real: the dialogue is ludicrous; the events comic-book. We see the same in the fantasy world of the central character in MD.

Although safe in this new fantastical environment, Fred/Peter is unable to resist being drawn back into danger, initially via his unlikely relationship with the - again comic-book - gangster boss, Mr. Eddy. This gangster character is a one-dimensional, violent crazy man who recalls the fantasy mafia types invented by the central character in MD to 'explain' her bad break.

Even so, Peter's life will remain peaceful if he avoids any dealings with Eddy outside of the grease-monkey relationship. But Fred's paranoia demands danger, and Peter begins an even less plausible and obviously perilous association with Fred's new incarnation of Renee: the pure-hearted damsel in distress that is Alice.

Except that, once again, Peter's life is contorted by Fred's paranoia, and Alice slowly metamorphoses into a spiteful, greedy psychotic who leads Peter further into danger.

(I looked for the 'Eye of the Duck' peripeteiac scene that Lynch always puts into his films, and one of the candidates is, I think, the moment where Alice points the gun at him after raiding 'Andy's' house. The tableau is held long enough to allow you to contemplate all that could happen if she shoots Peter and takes off. But that's not possible in a Fred/Peter fantasy, so we continue, with the point about her ruthlessness made.)

What else? The storyline continues as might be expected, with Alice now in total control. The cabin we've seen before just prior to Fred's metamorphosis. Alice disappears. The Mystery Man returns, and so does Mr. Eddy and Fred. All of this in a fight, during which the devil-figure hands him a knife that allows him to defeat Eddy/Dick Laurent (as we have discovered), and finally everything turns to crap as Fred heads back onto the highway with retribution on his tail. Things look hopeless, and the escape fantasy has brought him back to the point where he came in.

And then Fred begins another metamorphosis, which we never see completed, and the film ends. Is this another fantasy escape, or his death in the Chair?

I don't know how much of this is correct. Perhaps one day someone will tie Mr. Lynch to a rack, put electrodes on his nuts, and extract the line-by-line details of his wonderful creations. Until then we must wonder and worry. And marvel.
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For those, who try to understand the Movie
knockpasheemore13 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
First of all let me say, that it is not as serious, if you don't get the movies of David Lynch at once (or even never). Lynch is not a film maker who tries to make movies with a problem-solving message, but an artist. Moreover he started as a painter and so he tries to create an atmosphere more than to develop a story.

Most viewers will have realized that "Lost Highway" is a story about a schizophrenic murderer (even Lynch mentioned it). But that is not the complete clue to the movie. Cause everyone is aware of Fred's metamorphosis (although no one seems to really care about). So his mutation seems to be real and till the end no one proves the opposite! But "Lost Highway" is not a common movie about schizophrenia like "Beautiful Mind" or "Das weiße Rauschen" (Which is a must-see, too!). INSANITY IS NOT THE SUBJECT, BUT THE NARRATIVE PRINCIPLE OF THE MOVIE! In other words: The movie is not a presentation of mental sickness, but a complete sick presentation, which means that the subjective perception of the protagonist becomes the objective reality! You'll find this way of telling a story quite often in surrealistic literature (i.e Franz Kafka's "Die Verwandlung" engl.: "Metamorphosis" - just note the title!!).

All Lynch-Movies refer to mental illness or the state of dreaming: No character ever seems to care about the illogical and irrational twists of the plot(just like in dreams), the landscapes are unrealistic and change appearance or size and the story takes place at deserted areas (forests, claustrophobic rooms, industrial areas, desserts) far away from civilization or reality!

Insanity - Sanity/ Evil - Good/ Reality - Fiction are no longer categories one can rely on. The protagonists see their surroundings and environment always threatening, but they never question it! They act with such a matter of course, that one has to ask whether it is ignorance, naiveté or self-deception. Perhaps you don't have to ask yourself how far you are able to UNDERSTAND the message. Perhaps you have to ask yourself how far you are willing to ACCEPT the message. Be aware, that once you started seeing the world at a different way you will follow that white rabbit right the way in his burrow...
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Lynch's most bizarre movie to date....[Possible explanation, only for those who have seen the film]
tmensamaster-211 November 2002
David Lynch is known for his art films; films that defy the rules and rubricks a movie should follow. Of course, Lynch isn't one to follow any kind of Hollywood Rule. His films always have a general sense of the surreal, of emotions only understandable to the characters and actions that defy comprehension. They always have lurid eroticism or at least one character with a sexual perversion. And, for the most part, his films are incomprehensible to a mainstream audience. 'Lost Highway' has just been defined for you, though not explained. Perhaps the film is not meant to be explainable, perhaps it is just an abstract work meant to involve us and toy with our emotions until we forget it right after we leave. But the film is memorable so that cannot be the reason. Maybe Lynch is just working out personal demons and only he is meant to benefit from doing the film. I'll explain what I mean.

'Fred Madison' [Bill Pullman] is a sax player who performs at the local club. He and his wife 'Renee' [Patricia Arquette] live in a funky Lynchian house that seems designed specifically to disturb the audience. Their marriage and sex life is not going well. One day, 'Renee' finds a videotape on the doorstep. When they play it, it is almost like a promotional video for their house, moving down every hallway before entering the bedroom where 'Fred' and 'Renee' are shown sleeping. The tape abruptly shorts out to snow. 'Fred' and 'Renee' are obviously quite bothered by this. They call the police, who don't really impact the situation in any way. Later, at a party, 'Fred' meets an ingratiating pasty-faced man [Robert Blake] at a party who calmly explains ''We've met before, haven't we'' and then goes on to explain they met at 'Fred's house and that the man is ''There right now, phone me''. He does seem to be at both ends of the line. 'Fred' immediately grabs 'Renee and they leave to go home. This leads to one of the most tense and terrifying sequences I have ever viewed on a piece of celluloid since Hitchcock. Since we know Lynch is directing, we know anything could happen......And does.

I have not given away anything. In fact, the events I have described might have never happened. In fact, any event or character that enters the film may or may not have happened. The film exists in it's own queer dimension. Lynch shots the film like a noir, with 'Renee' as the femme fatale. The colors are pitch-dark and lush which helps structure the film into what it is, a psychological nightmare. It manipulates our emotions to a shocking extent and we don't know how Lynch is doing it because nothing in the movie makes sense. Lynch himself uses the phrase 'psychogenic fugue' when describing the movie as he says the hero is 'inventing a fantasy because his real life is so screwed up.' Patricia Arquette is more blatant when describing the film; 'Fred Madison is a f@#$ed up guy who invents a fantasy because his real life is so f%$#ed up. But Fred is so f%$#ed up that his fantasy falls apart...'' Makes sense to me. It would explain the bizarre events and would explain the ending. Fred is so angry and so paranoid that he has a fit in his car, twisting and whipping his head around in circles because his fantasy has gone wrong and collapsed. The film reveals clues that support this explanation. At one point, the pasty-faced man says of Renee ''Her name is Alice, if she told you her name was Renee, she was lying. And you, who the f$#@ ARE YOU!'' This suggests that Renee has used him and that 'Fred' doesn't even know who he is. If you were inventing a fantasy about yourself and you wanted to create a given persona, isn't it possible that you could forget who you were in the first place?

Some people have suggested that the 'Mystery Man' [Robert Blake] is a manifestation of 'Fred's' illness. But then why does it seem that the 'Mystery Man' is trying to help 'Fred'? Perhaps 'Fred' has created the 'Mystery Man' in the hopes that this being will solve the mystery for him, to egg him on until he saves himself. And the mob boss 'Mr Eddy' [Robert Loggia] is the real villain: cold, calculating, abusive and spontaneously violent, just like a virus. And 'Renee/Alice' is just one of the virus' cohorts, reproduced from the DNA of the virus to spread the illness and incapacitate the victim.

Or perhaps the most likely explanation; It is a Lynchian fantasy designed to screw the mainstream audience and entertain open moviegoers.This makes the most sense. People will always want to explain this film, to dig up it's secrets. Maybe the secrets will never be uncovered. Maybe there are no secrets and it is just a Lynch film calculated to please his fans. Any way you see it, it will never be solved. I wish you good luck if you try to solve the film in its entirety,... But you will certainly have fun doing it.
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It doesn't matter that the pieces fit.
Drewski-316 February 1999
I started this film upon renting it one night at 11:00 PM. I finished at about 1 in the morning. I was so stunned and awestruck that I stayed up until 3 in the morning to watch it again. This is one of the most spell-binding movies I have ever seen. Each time I see it my theory of the plot thickens. What I love about the movie is that it leaves you with the option to fill in the blanks. You will keep asking what happened and why that happened, but that is what makes the movie so awesome. David Lynch's skewed opinion of reality is very inspiring and I feel that my reality has changed ever since I watched it. Having watched it 13 times I can pretty safely say that my theory of the plot is set, but I still love to ponder exactly why.
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Dark, Violent, Surreal, Beautiful, Hallucinatory Masterpiece
gogoschka-14 June 2018
Buckle your seat belts: this film is quite the ride. As so often with David Lynch's movies, 'Lost Highway' doesn't bother with a traditional narrative and follows its own, dreamlike (or nightmarish) logic. It is a wild, expressionist work of art, and while it starts on a slow, brooding note, the film soon explodes into a crazy, violent trip that hooks you competely and doesn't let up. My advice to people unfamiliar with Lynch's work is this: just enjoy the experience and let yourself be immersed. While it is fun to analyze Lynch's movies, especially his most surreal ones, they're not mysteries that require resolution in order to be enjoyed.

As for the filmmaking itself, the pacing is fantastic throughout, the cinematography outstanding and the cast of character actors like Bill Pullman, Robert Loggia and Patricia Arquette simply a joy to watch (especially Loggia gets to shine in a wonderfully over-the-top part). Another aspect that should not go unmentioned is the music. The orginal score by Angeolo Badalamenti (who is to Lynch what John Williams is to Spielberg) is hauntgingly beautiful, but equally important is the amazing soundtrack - featuring greats like David Bowie, Lou Reed, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor and more - which fits and enhances the images on screen perfectly.

As far as I'm concerned, this is Lynch at his best. 'Lost Highway' is a dark, violent, surreal, beautiful, hallucinatory masterpiece: 10 stars out of 10.

Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
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An incredibly well-done film... but not for everyone's tastes
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews11 June 2005
This is the first film directed by David Lynch I've seen, not counting The Elephant Man, which is another great film, but is an outsider in his career, since it is not surreal. This film is, however, making it the first typical Lynch film I've seen. And I'm honestly not sure what to make of it. I had heard a lot about Lynch's films before watching, but I guess I hadn't heard enough. I went into this film hoping for a good mystery, an interesting puzzle to solve. As the end credits rolled I didn't know what to make of what I had just seen. I didn't get an answer to the question I kept asking while I was watching; "What exactly is this film about?". As soon as the credits were over, I read a comment or two by Lynch fans... and the truth dawned on me. It's not supposed to be solved. It's not a movie where you, when you see the very end, exclaim "Ah! Now I get it!". This film won't provide you with some twist ending or have a character come up to the lead and explain it all. It's not supposed to make perfect sense or be easily explainable. It's not real. It's fantasy. Fiction. The whole film is like a dream, or, more appropriately, a nightmare. The film is great; it's just not for me. I won't let that affect my rating, however. This was an excellent example of masterful film-making. Lynch's direction is eminent, evidenced by the fact that I kept watching, despite not understanding half of what was going on or being able to sympathize with any character(something we are much too used to from mainstream movies). The lighting is great. Lynch really plays around with it, and it's always interesting to look at. It also really adds to the mood, nicely set by careful editing and music usage. The acting is flawless, and that is not a term I use lightly. All in all, a wonderfully well-done film, but definitely not for everyone. Wasn't in my tastes, but I enjoyed how well-made it was regardless. I recommend this to fans of art films, rather than conventional ones. Fans of Lynch should enjoy this. Very surreal and loose. 10/10
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Weirdness overload!
Coventry11 February 2004
I believe it was the legendary Homer Simpson who once gave the ideal description on David Lynch productions. During watching a ‘Twin Peaks'-episode he said, `Brilliant…but I don't get it'. Too true…you love what you're seeing and you want to be a part of the mysterious Lynch universe! You actually feel the urge to search for solutions, you want to solve the riddle that is Lost Highway and you desperately try to do so…until you realize it's in fact a puzzle that cannot be solved. Therefore, my advice would be: Don't try to be Einstein and develop too many ‘theories'… just get overwhelmed by Lost Highway and enjoy the mixture of weirdness, violence and erotica you get to see. It's amazing what David Lynch pulls off here! He serves an absurd and impossible structure that involves an inexplicable metamorphosis of the protagonist and he actually gets away with it!! Meanwhile, he introduces a bunch of bizarre – but extremely fascinating – characters of which you don't know they're real or just creations of a mentally ill mind. Lynch in top-condition, in other words…you almost start to suspect he's laughing with his audience. The quality of Lost Highway is brought up to an even higher level by the terrific musical score (Angelo Badalamenti), a blasting soundtrack (Rammstein!) and sublime acting. Bill Pullman and Balthazar Ghetty supply each other terrifically, even though they don't have ONE scene together. And Patricia Arquette…either blond or brunette… looks gorgeous. No wonder men in this film fall into madness over her.

Lost Highway comes with my highest possible recommendation, yet I still prefer the David Lynch of the lat 70's and 80's. Can't really give a reasonable explanation for this… Films like Blue Velvet and Eraserhead had something extra.
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An amazing movie experience
claybo761 February 1999
This was the first time I was in anticipation of the release of a David Lynch film. Having only discovered his movies (and Twin Peaks) in the period of 1992-1997. I became a huge fan, owning several films on video as well as the complete Twin Peaks series.

I was not disappointed with Lost Highway. A film that left me totally stunned. A film that I did not want to end, in the hope that I could figure out what was going on. A film that left some scenes imprinted on my brain like a tattoo. A film that is a dream.

This film is what dreams are. There are times when you feel you control the dream, and times where you feel it escapes you. Slow and rapid events. Images that don't make sense. Fantasy. Horror. Surrealism. Symbolism. All part of a long dream, that I doubt anyone can decipher, including Mr Lynch.

Seeing this film for the second time with a person who truly did not "get it" (though I thank her for her patience to watch the whole film), made realise that there are two kinds of people in this world. I love this film. I can't wait to watch it again.
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Very eerie, very disturbing, very nightmare-ish and very entertaining!
Troy2Slick17 June 2003
I absolutely loved this movie. I have always loved to watch a good flick that puts my brain to the test. Maybe the film isn't suppose to make much sense, but that's what I love about it. You have to try and analyze it and make your own theories about what just took place. This movie isn't for a lot of people and I mean a lot. You have to like movies like Mulholland Drive, Memento, The Man Who Wasn't There, etc.. to even begin to like this one. I'm not necessarily a big David Lynch fan, but this movie rocked big time.

One of the most eery parts of the film is when (Bill Pullman) is making love to his wife (Patricia Arquette) and her face turns into the mystery man (Robert Blake). A very freaky looking individual, indeed. In my eyes, he represents the devil. But, that's my take on it.

Another great scene is when Pete is making love to Patricia Arquette in the Desert. The lighting, music, camera angles, emotions and everything is just one of the best pieces of cinemtography I've ever seen in my life.

My recommendation is this: If you liked Mulholland Drive, Memento, Pulp Fiction, Fargo, The Man Who Wasn't There, Blue Velvet, then this movie is your cup of tea. If not, don't waste your time, cause you'll hate it, more than likely. 3 1/2 *'s out of 4 *'s.
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Possibly the strangest film ever made.
popeman8923 July 2004
The thing that's great about Lost Highway is there is no absolute solution to the events in the film, everything about the film is open to interpretation and after you watch it you either need to thing and talk about it for a couple of hours or watch it again. In Mulholland Drive, people say that it needs to be watched twice to be fully understood. Lost highway needs to be watched about 3 or 4 time to be slightly understood and will probably never be fully understood. All the clues are there in the film but to include all of them to make sense is very difficult. However it is very rewarding to try and find out the meaning of Lost Highway.

Although it is described as a modern film-noir, it's more inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. The use of music to increase the suspense of the film is used a lot here and in many Hitchcock films such as Psycho. Even if you cant work out what it is about, it is still a very tense thriller.

Final Score – 10/10
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Philosophical, allegorical, satirical...but how many really care?
Indy Canuck27 October 2002
I'm not going into the plotline here because I'm limited to 1000 words. I don't think I can wrap up the plot that space.

I'm a recent inductee into the strange and twisted world of David Lynch. It all started when I caught a rerun of "Twin Peaks" on a low-budget digital satellite channel. Since then I've been hooked, and have had fun with cult films and filmmakers since.

Lost Highway is, as descried by Lynch, a new twist on film-noir. And only Lynch could put a twist like this on a classic genre. People keep wanting to draw comparisons to other films, saying: "Well, it's not Blue Velvet" or "It's not Mulholland Dr,"...they're right. It's Lost Highway, a unique and twisted foray down a dark highway that may or may not be entirely metaphorical...or metaphysical.

One of the things that I've noticed about David Lynch--and what probably inspires much of the hatred non-Lynch fans have towards his work--is that he doesn't explain everything. He lays it out, says "Here's my story. What do YOU make of it?" It's an incredible artistic attitude, much like viewing a Dali painting as opposed to a Da Vinci, and not for everyone's tastes.

Lost Highway is open to many interpretations, as are most of Lynch's works. Are we in our world, and being invaded by some outside force? Are we in a world we don't know we're in? Are we in Hell? What would you do if this happened to you? Maybe we are all someone else, really.

This film is at the same time allegorical, philosophical, incomprehensible, and satirical. It warps understood movie conventions, and is always pulling the unexpected.

All that praise aside, it is NOT the best of Lynch's work. One would have to be a fan to enjoy this, and should establish that fanhood with his better works, like Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, or "Twin Peaks."

If one has a set standard of how movies should be, an A-B-C pattern, stay away. But if it's originality, unanswered questions, and a break from standard Hollywood convention, go full ahead.

In my humble opinion, it's better than Wild at Heart and Dune, but not most of Lynch's rest. It is definitely an experience, but not one everybody will enjoy.
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noone does dreamscapes like lynch
imizrahi200227 November 2018
I haven't read the other reviews...i'm sure lots of them try and explain what 'this movie is about'. they should become psychoanalysts...i'm pretty sure if we asked LYNCH 'what it was about', he'd say, 'beats me'. it's as if had storyboarded a dream...and it's something to experience...robert blake playing 'the midget'. a character lynch seems to employ in lots of his work, was fantastic...plus i hadn't seen him in anything in quite a while... i saw this film for the second time last night, thinking it might make more sense... and what i realized is that some stories impact me viscerally and are every bit as valid as the ones that 'make sense'.
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p_monkey1 December 1999
Lighting. That's the thing I remembered most from the first time I saw this film. Amazing lighting. Certain directors, Lynch included, are able to tell the story using camera movement, what's seen/not seen. Lynch, however, has taken that a step further with the way he chooses to light his scenes - he sculpts his shots in a manner that seems almost more like a theatrical lighting designer's work. The use of shadows within the home, the stark colors that accompany certain scenes, even the car lighting in the titles - all of this is used to draw the audience's attention to a certain point, and all of it thrills. With the terse, "European art-film" dialogue style (at first the most distancing thing I found in Lynch's work, it is now one of my favorite elements), sharp sound work, a strong cast, and the marvelous, spiralling structure of the film only reinforcing it's strongest feature - its atmosphere - this is a work that will be discussed long after the credits fade. In my short 22 years, the best film I've seen, bar none.
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A profound, life-changing experience
CuriosityKilledShawn20 December 1998
Warning: Spoilers
'I like to remember things my own way. Not necessarily the way they happened.'

These are the words of Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), a man with an unfair share of problems. He lives in a deadly quiet neighbourhood, in a dark, oddly designed house. He works as a jazz musician in a nightclub and suspects his beautiful wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) of cheating on him. But, without knowing it, he's caught in an infinite, time-travelling, paradox conundrum. Confused? It gets even more complex.

Someone is leaving sinister video tapes on their doorstep. At first it only shows the exterior of their house. But the subsequent tapes reveal a little more and more.

At a party hosted by one of his wife's sleazy 'friends' a mystery man appears out of the crowd and tries to convince Fred that they've met before. Not quite aware of the true nature of the nightmare he's falling into, Fred dismisses this man as crazy and promptly leaves the awful party. At home, Fred disappears into the shadows of the labyrinthine hallway and isn't seen again til next morning.

The last videotape reveals Fred brutally murdering and dismembering Renee. Only he cannot remember doing it. Caught by the cops and sent to prison awaiting the chair, Fred begins to suffer agonising headaches. Then, one night, in solitary confinement, he goes through a psycho-genetic fugue and transforms into a completely different person.

Next morning the guards and warden are freaked to discover Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty), a 24-year old mechanic, in Fred Madison's cell. With no choice but to let him go, Pete goes back to his parents house while closely tailed by the cops. Something has happened to Pete a few days earlier and his parents are keeping their mouths shut. They can barely comprehend it themselves and it appears that Pete is involved in the same nightmare plot as Fred Madison was.

A powerful gangster named Dick Laurent/Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia)has a fondness for Pete and his ability to fix any car. But when he swings by the garage with his new floozy Alice Wakefield (Patricia Arquette again) he falls instantly in love with the woman, despite having 'femme fatal' practically tattooed, in bold, on her forehead.

Pete and Alice begin a relationship of nothing but aggressive shagging. And slowly, but surely, a world of mystery unlike anything you've ever seen is so vividly realised that you are practically pulled right into the film itself. The atmosphere is so thick that it'll flood over into your living room.

David Lynch's direction is honed to perfection. The cinematography is flawless and expertly framed. Lynch is a master of space and sound and the world of Lost Highway is at once beautiful and downright evil. He uses sly editing tricks to keep you paying the utmost attention and even if you don't take your eyes off the screen for a slit second it will still takes dozens of viewings to even begin solving it.

The ingenuity of Lost Highway is that it can be interpreted in so many ways but there is always one piece of the puzzle that Lynch has deliberately warped or hammered out of shape so that it doesn't fit and negates any theory you may have. You could spend hours (and I have) painstakingly trying to make sense of it all and you can some close to the answer but be so far from the truth.

Be it a dream or reality, a trip down the Lost Highway is one you seriously need to take. Though you might not come back.
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Eerie erotic and bizarre David Lynch masterpiece
UniqueParticle1 July 2019
Just about everything about this movie is weird but in a awesome stylish way! Patrica Arquette stunningly gorgeous with a few provocative scenes! This is one of the greatest art house films; felt like it'd be better to watch at night, still great anytime of the day. David Lynch's tone in all his projects are like a perfect tapestry pouring out of his mind and the cinematographer's.
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Finally.......the end
Aristides-23 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm actually feeling pretty good about things: I've been liberated. After seeing *part of 'Lost Highway', a life's truth has been revealed: I don't ever have to see another David Lynch film. Hip, hip, hooray!

*The more you see, the more "mysterious" the film becomes, or, putting it another way, the sewage of this guy's mind, badly transferred from film to DVD, in this case,(or perhaps that was the **'look' he wanted) finally bored/aggravated me enough to turn my interests to more engaging things.

**Which look was physically and mentally off-putting and tiring.....literally.

Having spent some years in the film industry,and got to know a couple of dozen producers somewhat, I marvel that Lynch can get the financing to make a film as miserable as 'Lost Highway'. This may be his greatest talent. (How does he convince some financially tough hombres to invest in a story of such low merit?)

So I'll extend myself in the future, with as much time and energy as I can, to continue trying to get Criterion to restore the films of Satjajit Ray, perhaps the greatest filmmaker, who struggled his entire career to raise funds for his movies.

Final comment about some previous rave reviews of L.H.: Comparing Lynch's writing/ideas to Kafka's suggests a superficial misread; Lynch revels in obfuscation while Kafka torturously and brilliantly tries for meaning.
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tedg21 June 2006
All hail David Lynch. All hail the other David Lynch.

Lynch is not a complex man, I think; it is easy to read him. But he is cinematically articulate and its a pleasure of a special sort when you meet an articulate artist. His interest is simply described: duals.

All his films work with some exploration of this idea. What makes him interesting is that he doesn't work the usual way, with a reality and then a surreal overlay. Both elements in his experiments are what we coarsely call "surreal." The game in traveling with him is an investment in the idea that there is no anchor to reality, that all references are among imaginations, sometimes twisted. "Mulholland" was a little too conventional for me because you could actually explain things and one of the realities was sorta real if you ignored a few things.

My favorite Lynch is "Velvet," which imposes the two warring realities on film genres. The most fun is the seemingly straight "Straight" story, which is perhaps the most bizarre encounters of dual strangeness because it seems so ordinary. Dualing roots that keep getting mowed.

But if you are into Lynch, this is an extraordinary pleasure, this one. Its the most obvious in plan, the least hidden in the swirl of two worlds. Neither world is anchored in reality and each hallucinates the other. Probably the only anchor with reality is the most disturbing character in appearance, The Robert Blake guy.

But even these two surrealities are nested in cinematic realities. One is the gangster movie, elevated to cosmic status by the French new wave. The other is visual jazz and the accompanying dream linkages that have been similarly blazed, starting with Dennis Hopper so far as American films.

What you are open to determines what you can get, I suppose. What Lynch provides is a sort of post-post modern notion of film as sometimes centered in itself, with its own cosmologies and lives that always refer to other film notions and never to real ones. There is no fold of us as viewer, no acknowledgment of our world at all (except for the mysterious videos). Celestial madness.

I prepared for this by watching four bad Holmes movies in a row. How we detect and discover is what this is about and is so superior to what we normally encounter, you should watch it.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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the greatest puzzle ever.
jegerdoven15 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I must admit that this movie is one of the best I've ever seen I think only Brazil can match it. The first time i saw it was back in 98 and my impression of the movie was that it was disturbing thrilling and captivating but made no sense at all, and thus didn't care that much for it and forgot about it shortly after. Last year i saw Mulholland Dr. this movie didn't make that much sense to me either, but I ended up discussing it with one of my friends and together we made us some ideas of what and how the movie could make sense, during this discussion I mentioned lost highway and we decided to see it, but only after reading about the movie on various sites. WOW I was blown away. This most weird movie suddenly made sense, it still has that creepy disturbing feeling as a any film seen from an insane killers perspective should, but its a feeling that I embrace due to the brilliance of Lynch. This movie is quite surrealistic and its quite a job trying to figure out what is real and what is just a product of Fred Madison's dreams/imagination/distorted memories, just to and further complications Lynch made this movie far from linear. To round things of. If you see this movie and is not repulsed by the grim story the dark atmosphere and enjoy "thicker movies", then read of some guidelines for understanding pay much attention to the little details and start puzzling for your self. I still am, after having seen it several times.

10/10 for a great puzzle that just keeps getting better, and includes a naked Patricia Arquette naked (any mans dream).
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haunting, beautiful, open to interpretation...here's mine
phasmatrope20 March 2001
"Lost Highway" is a great many things, but often seems to be reduced to a love-it or hurts-my-head-from-the-confusion, so-I'll-just-dismiss-it kind of movie. Some critics have written it off as self-indulgent swill, saying that only people who could hope to appreciate it would be Lynch himself and his plethora of wide-eyed adoring fans, etc, etc. I myself have never actually been a huge fan of Lynch, perhaps because I thought his stories didn't take themselves seriously enough, were just too darn quirky, who knows. Still, I've always admired his talent for creating beautiful, disturbing imagery, and "Lost Highway" has to be my favorite film of his, and possibly one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing I've ever seen! Certainly not for everyone, as those who want a definitive "answer," who think that seeing it again and again is really going to explain everything, or those who are simply into the ol' explosion-packed action blockbusters are going to be left shaking their heads. It's definitely open to interpretation. Myself, I'm not one to offer any new insight, I view it as--SPOILER AHEAD??--a purely subjective movie, with nearly all the events seen and largely imagined by its protagonist, Fred Madison, and once you can simply accept him as insane (or at least very imaginative!) you can simply quit puzzling over it and allow yourself to enjoy the ride.

While incarcerated for killing his wive in an act of jealousy, he embarks on a "psychogenic fugue" as an act of last-minute escapism from the looming dread of his upcoming execution--sort of like Ambrose Bierce's "Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge"--imagining himself as a younger, more likable/worthwhile guy (valued auto mechanic, "Mr. Eddy's" favorite), with people who care about him (his parents and girlfriend, as opposed to his real-life murdered wife who didn't even bother to go to his musical performances), and definitely more virile, as he is able to both attract and fulfill his "wife" (seen here as the slutty, icy femme fatale-type he always suspected her to be). However, try as he may, he ultimately can't avoid his past (notice how the fantasy him is put off when he hears Fred's jazz song on the radio in the garage), and thus after the fantasy Alice/Renee rejects him in the desert, he immediately turns back into his typical view of himself--hurt, older, sensitive, vulnerable (represented by his nakedness)--proving that even his fantasies fail him, and thus he's left to die an unpleasant death in the electric chair after all (notice the way he violently contorts in the closing moments, almost as if he's being electrocuted). Call him a modern-day murderous Walter Mitty I guess. The Fred Madison/O.J. Simpson comparisons made by some are interesting--if just a BIT cynical!--though I have to halfway wonder if that real-life spousal jealousy murder case provided any grain of inspiration for this fictional one. The cast is impressive and do a great job; Bill Pullman definitely has the haunted, deer-in-the-headlights look that his confused, out-of-it character requires, though at the same time I don't know if he quite portrays the extreme jealousy and animal savageness deep down inside that caused him to murder his wife as gruesomely as he did (if of course you even want to accept what was on that final videotape as something that actually happened in the first place!). Needless to say, the whole moebius-strip "twist" of having the film end at its beginning greatly complicates any interpretation; even without it, the film could STILL be difficult to decipher by some (heck, I'm still not even really sure what the significance of the Mystery Man was!)

Perhaps the film could have benefited from a few extra scenes or lines of dialogue to make it a little less cryptic for the more literal-minded members of the audience, but still, even by suggesting that you'd be implying that there was one concrete explanation for the film, which there most certainly is not.

Regardless, all plot and interpretations aside, you can almost certainly enjoy for its images, its music (an EXCELLENT soundtrack), for its mood and atmosphere, and simply for it as a whole: dare I say, it's almost more of an experience than anything (though for what it's worth, at the same time I can't think of the last time I saw a film--or work of art period, for that matter--that provoked such a wide variety of interpretations and opinions, as should hopefully be the case with ANY great work of art).

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Dick Laurent may be dead but long live David Lynch!
asda-man1 December 2015
I make no secret about David Lynch being my favourite ever director. He makes films like no other by building dark worlds which draw you in by putting you in some sort of spell. I love him so much that I put off seeing Lost Highway for over a year because it was the only David Lynch film I was yet to see. I was even considering not seeing it at all just so I could always have that one new David Lynch film, but then I thought that would just be ridiculous. Also, the revival of Twin Peaks was enough to pique my David Lynch anticipation meter to breaking point so I finally gave in and stuck in Lost Highway.

Firstly, I don't think it's as grossly strange as some people make out. Yes, it has all the trademark bizarreness you come to expect from David but the majority of the film is surprisingly linear. I was expecting some next level INLAND EMPIRE stuff the way some folk bang on about it! The first 40 minutes are like Michael Haneke's Hidden in dream form. It's probably some of the best stuff our David has ever done due to the inexplicably tense and hellish atmosphere. A lot of the scariness is down to the terrifying music which ranges to ominous drones to extremely loud strings. There's one seriously nightmarish image near the start (which I've never heard anyone talk about, surprisingly) which sent chills up my spine. It's a full-on Lynchian assault on the senses which takes you down some dark and enthralling corners. The atmosphere is chock-a-block full of mystery.

There are endlessly beautiful scenes including Fred playing the saxophone, the unsettling meeting with the Mystery Man and extremely frightening dream sequences. I think it's also important to note the expert positions David places the camera. There always seems to be too much space surrounding the characters and it makes for seriously eerie viewing. There's also that fantastic Francis Bacon inspired colour scheme of dark purples/pinks and shadows. He really does direct the hell out of the first forty minutes of this film.

Suddenly the film changes into something entirely different as soon as Fred Madison randomly transforms into a young mechanic called Pete Dayton and takes on an entirely new life. No one seems to bat an eyelid about Fred Madison disappearing and the sudden change is quite jarring. In my opinion, this is when the film goes down a gear. I think because the first story is so strong, this second one pales slightly in comparison as the suffocating atmosphere somewhat dissipates and the overall strangeness ceases. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot to love it just feels less Lynchy and more straightforward, and the Pete Dayton story is the biggest chunk of the film.

There are still some spectacular sequences though, including a mysterious gangster getting road rage and Patricia Arquette's intriguing Alice character. There's also a strong feeling of everything not quite being what it seems and it gives you time to ponder over exactly what the heck you're watching. Thankfully for us weirdos things do start to get extremely strange towards the final half hour of the film before breaking down into total chaos until your mind finally explodes.

Lost Highway is extremely puzzling in a similar way to Mulholland Dive. All of the clues seem to be there as well as a few abstractions to throw lots of spanners into the works (what does this Mystery Man have to do with it all!?) but there is a complex and very intelligent story buried underneath all the bizarreness. It feels like a warm-up exercise before Dave finally broke the mould of film with Mulholland Drive. Everything in Mulholland feels like a perfected version of Lost Highway from the more passionate love story to the unrelenting dreamlike atmosphere.

Lost Highway is still a film to cherish on the Lynchian canon though. It's very much its own thing and I felt a strong urge to see it all again once it had all finished. Unlike Mulholland Drive there doesn't seem to be a universal theory to Lost Highway which makes it all the more interesting to watch again and again to dig for clues. However, as with all Lynchy films the best thing to do is just sit back and let your intuition drive you rather than your brain. It's not an IQ test but a piece of art which is designed to take you on a journey. No one makes films that make you feel quite like David Lynch does. Let's hope that the Twin Peaks revival encourages our Dave to get back into more regular filmmaking again. I couldn't bear to wait another ten years!
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Cruise me, blonde - cruise me, babe
Perception_de_Ambiguity21 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As much as I keep thinking about the content of 'Lost Highway', every time I watch it I'm so captivated by its style and atmosphere that I never really analyze what makes it work technically, nor do I have much of a desire to dissect it. Even so I know that it is a film-experience that very much feels unlike any other, with pretty simple frame compositions that focus on faces in front of monochrome walls or black nothingness and on intricate empty spaces alike, visually beautiful because the images are impactful, and a sound design that never lets up with what almost feels like wall-to-wall music.

So with 'Lost Highway' we have a wife killer who for legal purposes isn't named O.J. Simpson but Fred Madison. As he's awaiting execution in his prison cell he's plagued by guilt, crippling headaches and a lack of sleep so he receives a sleeping pill that doesn't appear to be too successful at helping him fall asleep but it certainly helps him to go places.

Fred takes a trip to wish fulfillment land where he is Pete, an attractive young lad with "half-biker, half-Beaver suburban parents" (thanks Donald Lyons) who don't forbid him to go out with his druggy friends at night but actually encourage him to do so. He's popular at work and talented at what he does. He has an influential friend who sticks up for him (preferably with a gun up somebody's butt) and a girlfriend who he is able to fully sexually please. And the sun is shining on him and on his next door neighbor's idyllic garden that unmistakably belongs to the poor guy who keeled over at the beginning of 'Blue Velvet' although except for the little family dog nobody seems to be at home.

Skip to "This Magic Moment" as Pete hooks up with Alice, his criminally influential friend's girlfriend who conveniently is the blonde spitting image of Renee, Fred's dead wife. After some fun times in cheap motel rooms Pete starts to question Alice's sincerity about really carrying about him, she comes off as calculating as she seemingly out of nowhere comes up with a murder plot that requires Pete's assistance with him getting to do the dirty job. It recalls the plot of 'Double Indemnity' while a lot of minor things ooze of 'Vertigo', from the dame's blonde doppelgänger to a floating head in a dream to policemen tailing an unfaithful guy as he "gets more pussy than a toilet seat", but those small similarities add up.

As the frame shakes and quakes from time to time and the image loses focus for a moment while the volume of the droning on the soundtrack fluctuates the dream gradually turns into a nightmare and the irony of it all is that Fred's fantasy-self eventually is the cause of his predicament for Pete ends up in the position of the guy who Fred's wife cheats on. After his elaborate trip of denial Fred probably understands this "other guy" better than ever but instead of this knowledge bringing about a catharsis it more and more makes his dream resemble the nightmare that his life has become.

This "loss of control" is where the highway from the opaque movie title comes into play. The two credit sequences show the view from a car as it drives on a highway at night while David Bowie sings "cruise me, blonde - cruise me, babe" sounding like he's falling into an abyss as he lets everybody know "I'm deranged". As much as this image is associated with Lynch's film this particular highway actually is only seen once as part of the story. It's when Pete and Alice drive out into the desert after she got him to kill Andy for some money. Now she tells Pete that they have to meet a friend of hers who lives in a 'Kiss Me Deadly' cabin in the desert. He wouldn't know what else to do and of course he loves her so he goes along with it. But Alice is taking him for the proverbial ride.

Fred thought he couldn't keep his wife in his own bed because he was a lousy lay, which was devastating enough for him to go mental on her and to cover their shared bedroom floor with her body parts like he was making his own little home movie adaption of the Black Dahlia case. But when Alice says to the stud Pete while having sex "You'll never have me" he makes a banally simple realization, a truth so basic that he can only hope to escape it by leaving wish fulfillment land behind and entering the world of his memories, the past as he remembers it, not necessarily how it happened. That truth is that woman isn't only flesh and bone and smooth skin but also soul, and unless maybe her name is Beyoncé woman isn't a thing that can be owned, not even if you like it and you put a ring on it.

As the fantasy-bubble bursts and Pete turns into Fred again without a change of location his mysterious friend already awaits him to put the Betacam on him once more provoking him to face facts by insisting to say to the camera what his "fücking name" is. But not all hope is lost quite yet, Fred still has enough delusion left in him to refabricate his memory making himself believe that he's prosecuted for taking revenge on the bastard who screwed his wife and making himself the sinister-voiced unknown who tells him that "Dick Laurent is dead" before the whole thing ever even started, a message that really tells him that it was all predestined to happen, that he's a victim of his own fate with him having no choice in the matter, that maybe Fred never even existed for he all along was a movie character stuck inside a film noir.
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A Cult-Movie to Be Loved or Hated, but never Fully Understood
claudio_carvalho20 July 2010
The jazz saxophonist Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) is married with Renee (Patricia Arquette) and they live in a comfortable house. Fred is suspicious of the relationship of Renee with her friend Andy (Michael Massee). One morning, Renee finds a videotape on the doorstep of their house and when they watched the footage, they find that someone has broken in to film inside their house. They call the police, but the two detectives do not find any clue. Fred and Renee go to a party at Andy's house and Fred has a bizarre encounter with a mysterious man (Robert Blake) that tells him that they have met before and he is at Fred's house. The upset Fred calls Renee and they go back home. On the next morning, Fred finds another videotape and when he watches the film, he sees a bloodbath with Renee murdered in bed with him. He is found guilty of murder of first degree and sentenced to the electric chair. While waiting in the death row, he morphs into the efficient mechanic Peter Raymond Dayton (Balthazar Getty) and is released from the cell, but followed by two detectives. Pete fixes the car of the powerful and dangerous gangster Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia) and when he meets his mistress Alice Wakefield (Patricia Arquette), they have a love affair and the woman convinces him to escape with her from Mr. Eddy and travel to some other place.

"Lost Highway" is one of the most intriguing, bizarre and challenging cult-movies that is to be loved or hated but never fully understood. I believe that even David Lynch that directed and wrote "Lost Highway" does not have answers for all the mysteries of the plot. The best and most provocative scene is when the mysterious man tells Fred that he is at his house and gives a cellular to Fred to call him. The film is shot following the style of film-noir and Patricia Arquette is the "femme fatale". The beauty of the half-naked Patricia Arquette is astonishing and her strip-tease is very erotic. The soundtrack with music of David Bowie, Angelo Badalamenti, Rammstein, Lou Reed, and Tom Jobim (with Insensatez") is spectacular. Last time I had watched this movie was on 23 December 1999. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "A Estrada Perdida" ("The Lost Highway")
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best lighting and most incredible plot i've ever seen
man with the plan2 December 1998
this is truly a classic. the entire film can be read on several different levels; literally, a bit deeper, and the significance of that deeper level.

currently i've only just been able to get under the surface. let me be the first to tell you: beyond the surreal atmosphere and the best lit sex scenes of all time is something very interesting going on.

i won't spoil this for you, as it wasn't spoiled for me when i first had the pleasure of watching it. i would agree that the widescreen version is the way to go, but either will do.

do not watch this film if you are not interested in thinking about it. it was produced to be thought about. it is more than just surreality and chaos, but only if you let it be. keep an open mind about it and expect nothing but the best from the master of the bizarre.

david lynch, i am in your debt.
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