Lost Highway

Director: David "Scalpel and Sledgehammer" Lynch
Starring: Patricia "Screenburn" Arquette, Bill "Nice Guy" Pullman, Balthazar "Mussed Up" Getty, Robert "Powerhouse" Loggia, and Gary "Country Boy" Busey
Commences screening March 27th at the Academy, Dendy (Newtown), Walker St, and Greater Union (George St.)

If I ever get my hands on David Lynch, I'm gonna kill the crazy bastard. Lost Highway, his latest film, is one relentless mindfuck, mashing alternate and parallel realities together into a two and a half hour, noir-horror story. Ferocious shadows, flashes of light and sound dance and leap across Lynch's minimalist mise en scene, his trademark collection of bizarre characters and sparse dialogue making you feel like you're watching bugs flutter around inside a buzzing insect killer - detachedly, coolly, remotely. Lynch's unique vision draws the audience into a world where humans are observed like strange creatures in a zoo, their timing, mannerisms and responses seem almost alien. You want to prod them with a stick, throw something at them, just make them respond in some visceral, normal way.

This is one of those films that kisses you on the neck while it thumps you in the gut. An intense, disturbing journey of bristle, grease, beauty, blood, machinery, lace, glare, shaved eyebrows, whiskey and fifteen shades of nail-polish, it explores Kafka-esque themes of metamorphosis, alienation and insect behaviour. Lynch's characters move through the lens like lethal spiders on velvet, the brooding sense of menace provided by the screen image is amplified by abusively loud sound effects and music.

Using a repertoire of grating phone ringing, abrasive door-buzzes and penetrating saxaphone wailing, Lynch makes you wrench and contort in your seat, wanting to escape the place he has put you in. The soundtrack is enraged into a banshee's howl - shrieking, clawing, tearing at your eardrums in manic bursts, then leaving you with unpredicatable periods of buzzing silence. You feel your sanity slip time and time again, until you grin maliciously as your brain is flayed with distortion and the sight of others covering their ears, wriggling like helpless worms, but trying to remain composed and intellectual like the goddamn cheap critics they are. Like a master, Lynch plays the audience's discomfort for all it's worth. Like a bug he has you pinned to your seat and knows exactly which buttons to push until all you can do is squirm, squirm squirm and curse him for his genius and his sadism. That bastard.

This is an amazing, but traumatic movie-going experience. As reality dissolves around you it is all too easy to lose your grip on reason. You'll find yourself laughing at things you shouldn't be laughing at. Laughing as people talk, walk, work, fuck, and die. Even when it's no longer funny and the movie envelops you in its dark cloak, your face is still twisted to his cruel mask. You leave the cinema feeling distinctly psychotic, unable to look at people the same way. It took me ten minutes to recover from its harrowing, grimy grip, to stop staring down people with that maniacal glare, spine tingling all the way up with Lynch's acid formula. That fucker! I hate him. I love him.

comments? email the author