David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive – Deception in a Corrupt Industry

Warning: Spoilers Ahead • 3rd Viewing

Coco is my favorite character, low-key.

Yeah, it’s still one of the best movies of all-time and maybe has the smartest use of ambiguity ever to grace the screen, given it makes it crystal clear what the movie is thematically about just not exactly what statements it’s trying to address in its plot. I can’t get over how seamlessly this movie turns from a cold-hearted satire into one of the most creatively tragic thrillers ever. David Lynch: the king of tonal shifts and combos! 

Mulholland Drive pulls a pretty straightforward trick in a pretty jaw-dropping way: present the cliché tropes of a wannabe superstar with hopes and dreams slowly descending into the reality of the competitive state of “industry.” Heaven-state dumbness progresses itself into frustrating schizophrenia, obviously replicating the mental state journey of Naomi Watts’ character Diane. It’s the classic killing of innocence by death. 

Camilla is the dying celebrity to me, with nothing left but her money, escaping her reality in a dash of little thought. She’s looking for a revival by changing who she is, inventing a new identity to prove to the world she still can be a star. Her constant state of fear appears almost like a constant state of being afraid to move on and accept a reality or maybe the tough process it is in discovering a new persona to revamp the kicks of your career; it’s better than falling into drug addiction and OD-ing though! I suppose the dynamic of Diane and Camilla solving Scooby-Doo mysteries together also represents finding gratification in the relationships we build, being identified through love rather than fame, and how our artistic pursuits often have the ability to jeopardize them or vise versa — the relationship jeopardizes fame. You either choose one or the other as many famous artistic names have claimed before. Diane chose love, Monica chose fame, therefore, the peace was disrupted. 

Adam feels almost like a host for David Lynch too, getting cucked by every Hollywood exec. and even lectured like a child for not staying in his “lane”. Very brave of you to admit this to us, Lynch… very brave.

We could also take into account the Persona (1966)/Fight Club (1999) (spoilers for both those movies) theory of Mulholland Drive in that Diane and Monica are the same person, Diane representing the conscious, logical side who is questioning her soulless decisions being made in the industry and Monica representing her celebrity image towards the people who make up her life. Monica wants to embrace her fictional persona while Diana gets psychologically vandalized by how she’s essentially sold her dignity to an industry of certified psychos — Adam being one of them: an artist turned businessman. However, I’ll leave this discussion up in the air for now until I have a fourth viewing of this anomaly. 

Bottom line is, Mulholland Drive ultimately provokes an array of pretty simple concepts regarding Hollywood corruption, yet they’re presented in such surreally awkward, terrifying, or satirical ways that resourcefully emphasize the ridicule of our societal reality. It’s all a supreme example of diligent style enhancing substance.

So it’s the energy forces of evil who’re planting our dreams of Hollywood fame into us and then proceeding to laugh at us as we cope under its deception? Fun movie, Lynch. Real fun movie. 

Verdict Change: A —> A+

David Lynch Ranked, My-All Time Favorites

“Mulholland Drive” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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