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Drama - US

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Duration2h 27m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15
Source of storyA screenplay developed from a pilot which was intended to result in a TV series, but which was turned down.
DirectorDavid Lynch
Writers/ScriptDavid Lynch
StarringNaomi Watts, Laura Herring, Robert Forster, Ann  Miller, Justin Theroux, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.9/10 by 348,477 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 84% by 184 reviewers. Review2view: 6.5/10.

Elevator Pitch: Mulholland Drive is a street and then a road winding into the Hollywood Hills for about 50 miles. I’m going to describe a few of the scenes maybe not in the right order, which hardly matters and it is necessary to identify the main characters Betty Elms/ Diane Selwyn played by Naomi Watts and Rita/ Camilla Rhodes played by Laura Herring. Rita staggers away from a car crash on Mulholland Drive and finds her way to an apartment which she secretly enters. Later Betty, a new arrival in Hollywood enters the apartment and finds Rita but does not report or evict her. Betty goes to an audition at which she is super successful, taking on an erotic persona. But sometimes we see Diane Selwyn drinking coffee with lowlifes and Camilla Rhodes with director Adam Kesher who we have also met in other scenes. I’ll go not further, I’ve only got 400 words.

Content: There is lesbian sex with some female nudity and Diane Selwyn is seen masturbating while in some distress. Most of the scenes are individual events, apparently virtually unconnected to others.  A petty criminal who seems to have an association with Diane Selwyn, bodges a robbery which results in three deaths. Adam Kesher is bullied into including Camilla Rhodes in a film he is making and on returning home finds his wife in bed with the pool guy.  Betty and Rita spend time together sometimes trying to find out who  Rita is since she has amnesia, and discover a dead body in what might be Diane Selwyn’s apartment. 

A View: Even after more than 20 years critics and film enthusiasts continue in their efforts to interpret this movie. One of the prevailing views is that it is Diane Selwyn’s dream, Betty being an idealised version of her, but others express the view that actually Diane Selwyn is Rita. The lesbian sex has been both praised and dissed as being totally gratuitous, but who knows. The film seems to me to be a comment on Hollywood and while it is probably worth watching for no reason other than its important in movie history, it is not very rewarding for the audience who seem to be cast in the role of detective..

There are other films which have been reviewed on this site which are comments on the film industry, all of them in my view more fun. Here are three: Wag the Dog, Tropic Thunder and A Hollywood Ending

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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