A film of Hollywood hope and reality told with a fractured timeline. I watched the film blind (i.e. no prior information on it) which is a good thing to do if you can (I’ll be careful in the review not to give things away) and to be honest I don’t think I’ve seen another film by David Lynch (the writer and director of this film), so I can’t really compare it to other Lynch works.
The film gets going when a dark haired woman (played by Laura Elena Harring) is involved in a car accident. Her life then becomes associated with Betty (played by Naomi Watts) who arrives in Hollywood as a fresh-faced aspiring actress, keen to help solve the mysteries and questions that the dark haired woman has after the accident.
It starts off as a very TV-series feeling film, the incidental music playing a large part in that feeling but also the colour/filters of the picture and the acting styles as well. A number of characters and plot strands are also opened up quite quickly before the story settles down. It’s the last third of the film which takes on a darker feel and which explains the preceding sections to some extent. Having read a bit about the film afterwards, it appears that it was indeed started as a TV series, before being later changed and finished off as a film. Because of this there are, as I see it, a few sections and scenes that aren’t entirely relevant tot the film as a whole but become the subject of a lot of speculation as to the intention of the filmmaker. The premise of the entire film will also irritate some people who think of it as a cop-out, but it doesn’t feel like that actually during the film.
These things aside, there is some great acting on offer from Laura Elena Harring and Naomi Watts, Naomi in particular plays with the script of a scene, practising at home before going for an audition and showing how versatile she is an actress. There are some funny scenes as well (the bungling hit-man) but also a few non-starters (Justin Theroux plays a film director and a particular meeting scene looks like an amateur dramatics production).
So besides the late-80’s TV series feel at the beginning and some irrelevant aspects this wraps up in an accomplished way and gets you playing the detective, replaying the story in your head for a long time afterwards, slotting the pieces of the story into order.
3 on 5
If you like this, try Momento, 21 Grams, Amorres Perros, Pulp Fiction, Adaptation or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as they’re all very good films with similarly fractured timelines.