A Highway Worth Getting Lost On

Lost HighwayEvery so often, a film forces its viewers to think, with only their imagination left to guide them on the new and breathtaking journey it presents.

David Lynch (“Eraserhead,” “Blue Velvet”), the master of creating visions that translate the fantasies in his own mind, is a perfect example of a director who gives everyone in the audience a chance to interpret his work and create their own take on the film.

That is where “Lost Highway” comes in.

Back in 1997, there was a mixture of confusion and chaos in trying to figure out Lynch’s madness behind making this film. What was he trying to say and why was it so tough to follow?

But when it is all said and done, it is the viewer that will have to make that call. “Lost Highway” was a work of art that will be talked about for a long time because, no matter what, there are many interpretations and theories that can be created after viewing this movie.

That alone says that Lynch has the power to make us think.

Fred Madison, a saxophonist played by Bill Pullman (“Independence Day,” “Lake Placid”), is accused of killing his wife Renee, played by Patricia Arquette (“Stigmata,” “Little Nicky”). While on death row, he physically transforms into another person named Pete Dayton, played by Balthazar Getty (“Ladder 49,” “The Tripper”) and as a result, lives a completely different life.

Dayton is now released from prison and while living his new life as a free man, he and Madison’s paths begin to cross in a suspenseful way, which is orchestrated by a shady, grumpy mob boss named Dick Laurent, played by Robert Loggia (“The Sopranos,” “The Deal”) and an enigmatic man, known as the Mystery Man, played by Robert Blake (“Corky,” “The Money Train”).

To many, “Lost Highway” can seem confusing, but the bottom line is that Lynch himself wanted to create his vision of hell. Lynch calls his films a “work of art” and as an artist himself, wanted to translate that this medium. That alone makes him a fantastic director.

His style of shooting a film creates a chilling timbre, giving the impression that Lynch is either crazy or a genius, in that he can create something so vivid that the viewer often questions its existence.

Lynch’s interpretation of hell is similar to people going around in circles, experiencing different identities and living a double life as do the actors in this film, which makes “Lost Highway” utterly interesting and keeps you on the edge of your seat as you observe every detail.

The acting in this film is alluring. Pullman shows immense talent, as he plays a weird character that at times seems rather antisocial. Arquette displays her luscious beauty with a charm that will have you drooling in front of the screen – her voice is soft and her looks are angelic. Blake gives a spectacular performance: His creepiness will bring chills and fear to the viewer, perfectly matched by his maniacal laugh and pale skin. Loggia is gritty and a madman; his anger and loudness are perfect for a raging sociopath with a short fuse.

All in all, “Lost Highway” is a film that will keep you guessing. The hard part is trying to figure out what is going on and what picture Lynch is trying to paint.

When hell freezes over, you’ll probably finally figure out exactly what Lynch was trying to say.

Even if you don’t, you’ll end up painting an interesting picture anyway.

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About Nick Valente 298 Articles
At the site, I'm a music, television and graphic novel kind of guy and that's what I'll be writing for the most part. Expect some book and music reviews as well though [insert demon horns here]. I grew up in Bensonhurst Brooklyn, the same neighborhood many of the best mafia films of our day were based on, idolizing guys like Robert Deniro, Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino. I'm also a big sports fan and follow the New York Yankees immensely.

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