David Lynch’s most cryptic and uncanny excursion into the recesses of the human psyche, Lost Highway is the dark detour on the road from a small town in Washington called Twin Peaks to the bright lights of Hollywood a stone’s throw from Mulholland Drive. Musician Fred (Bill Pullman) and his wife Renee (sultry brunette Patricia Arquette) receive a series of unnerving videotapes shot inside their home, culminating in one of the couple asleep in bed. After a strange party encounter with a Mystery Man (Robert Blake, in grotesque kabuki makeup), Fred receives a final tape that shows him murdering Renee and winds up on death row—where he vanishes from his cell, his place inexplicably taken by Pete (Bathazar Getty). Pete is released from prison and a new story seems to begin in which the young car mechanic begins an affair with Alice (sultry blonde Patricia Arquette), the mistress of combustible gangster Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia) and finds himself lured into nightmarish intrigue involving theft, murder, and pornography. Is Lost Highway a depiction of a psychogenic fugue, a dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who they are and creates a new life for themselves? Or is its bifurcated and circular narrative simply the delirious “opposition of two horrors: the phantasmatic horror of the nightmarish noir universe of perverse sex, betrayal, and murder, and the (perhaps much more unsettling) despair of our drab, alienated daily life of impotence and distrust,”­ as Slavoj Žižek would have it? Or is it both? You decide.

  • Directed By David Lynch
  • 1997
  • USA/France
  • 35mm
  • 134 minutes