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Lost Highway

Released: 1997

Genre: Mystery & Suspense

Runtime: 2 hr 15 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: David Lynch

Starring: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette

David Lynch’s experimental head trip follows a married couple in Los Angeles and later a young mechanic who gets involved with a mobster’s girlfriend.

If you dig this movie then I dig you.

Review by: MiamiMovieCritic

Added: 8 years ago

"You were in the house, calling my name, but I couldn't find you. Then there you were, lying in bed... but it wasn't you. It looked like you, but it wasn't."

– Fred Madison

This is one of many moments in David Lynch's Lost Highway that will leave you scratching your head and freaking the fuck out at the same time. It may not be Lynch's best film, but it's certainly his best all-out horror movie since Eraserhead, and it's certainly more rewarding than Inland Empire in terms of narrative and themes. (It holds a special place for me because it's the first Lynch film I saw – and on the big screen, no less.)

Depending on your interpretation, the film either contains two conflicting stories or one long story with shifting identities. The first is about a cool L.A. couple named Fred (Bill Pullman) and Renee Madison (Patricia Arquette). Their marriage is rife with suspicion and secrets. One day, they start receiving ominous videotapes on their doorstep. This 45-minute segment ends with a gruesome murder and Fred's arrest.

Much of the rest of the film focuses on Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty), a young mechanic who's found sleeping in Fred's jail cell one morning, Fred having inexplicably disappeared or, more likely, transformed. Pete begins an affair with Alice Wakefield (also played by Arquette), the mistress of an all-powerful gangster named Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia, in the film's second scariest performance). This leads to creepy phone calls, murders, and lots and lots of sex.

I mentioned that Loggia delivers the second scariest performance in the film. He's a distant second to Robert Blake's Mystery Man. Sporting black clothes and white pancake makeup, the Mystery Man first appears at a party, where he strikes up a conversation with Fred. This is perhaps the most bizarre scene Lynch has ever directed, and easily one of the most frightening phone calls in movie history. Blake reappears near the end to threaten Pete and help Fred commit a murder. (The latter scene has a weird context given Blake's real-life arrest and acquittal for the murder of his wife.)

The soundtrack (featuring Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails) and a cameo by Marilyn Manson solidify Lynch's reputation as the hippest director working in Hollywood. The film is super-sexy and visually arresting, and I for one happen to believe that it makes perfect sense (especially if you think of the final scene in terms of an execution by electric chair). If you dig this movie then I dig you.