When it comes to David Lynch, most folks discuss Twin Peaks or Mulholland Drive (assholes discuss Dune), but I always had an affectation for Lost Highway, mostly because it was pretty much the first Lynch film I saw. And goddam, was it a hell of a flick to pick out.
A David Lynch film doesn’t give a shit if it makes sense or not, it’s mostly meant to evoke some sort of emotional response.
Mine was confusion. And frustration.
The plot of the story is that Fred (Bill Pullman) suspects his wife, Reneè (Patricia Arquette) is cheating on him, while someone keeps recording them and sending the tapes. Well, in a midst of confusion, Fred finds himself in bed with Reneè who has been brutally murdered. Fred is convicted of the crime, but in his cell he becomes Pete (Balthazar Getty) who is set free, and becomes embroiled in a love triangle with Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia) and his girl, Alice (Patricia Arquette). Yeah, this shit turns into a different fucking movie. Oh yeah, and there’s this Mystery Man (Robert Blake) just going around being nightmare fuel.
Where the fuck do I start with this? How can anyone make sense of this? The key is in logic.
The movie makes no sense logically and that was what had me at a stalemate. But Lynch said during some interview what had subconsciously influenced the movie: The OJ Simpson trial.
That it all clicked.
Throwing logic out the window (I cannot emphasize that enough), the movie is about a man who murdered his wife and his justification for doing so.
Reneè was cheating on Fred with Dick Laurent (Robert Loggia), he kills Dick first, Fred’s subconscious tells him he’s dead, then he kills Reneè. The transformation into Pete represents the need to take back control. Now he’s cheating, but its out of love. He has to rescue Alice/Reneè from Mr Eddy/Dick Laurent so they can be happy.
Then reality sets in (somewhat) and she rejects Pete/Fred, which causes Fred to kill her. The final chase on the lost highway has Fred turning into something. I’ve read that it’s supposed to be him dying in the electric chair, which if one accepts, then the whole movie is about a man who denies the heinous act he’s committed, but when he does, he is met with his karmic retribution.
Lost Highway is my favorite of David Lynch’s work because it’s so batshit crazy. It took me years to make some sort of sense out of this whole thing, and I still feel I haven’t. What’s so wonderful about the movie is that there is no right or wrong way to view it. It leaves you to make your own conclusions about what the fuck you just saw. Trust me, you’ll see some horrific shit.
Whether you like the movie or not, you’ll never go through a cinematic experience like this, and this fucking movie will haunt you for the rest of your life.