I have no objection to a director who fancies himself a stylist but once in a while I do ask that a stylist occasionally let me in on the joke. David Lynch has always been the master of his own work, sometimes brilliant but often times baffling, confusing and frustrating. Frustrating because he tries so hard to outsmart the viewer and himself that often, I think, he forgets to just make a movie.
`Twin Peaks’ was no exception. I didn’t mind being taken into his comic nightmare on television (however one or two episodes were about all I could take) but this senseless and tiresome movie grates on +your nerves the moment you realize that it isn’t even going to try to make an attempt at any cognitive reason. In my mind the movie plays like a stubborn child who won’t budge from his seat and keeps smiling just the irritate you.
What I saw of `Twin Peaks’ on television I foolishly thought could be explained here. `Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’ chronicles that last seven days of the life of Laura Palmer, the McGuffin at the center of the entire enterprise. The series begins with the discovery of her dead body and the subsequent investigation to trace how she got there. The movie takes us back a full year before that discovery to lead us through Laura’s life up to the day of her murder.
The movie begins with another murder under investigation by two FBI agents (Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland) who predict, rather predictably that the killer will kill again. Agent Cooper (Kyle McLaughlin) has a vision about this time of a red room and some babbling nonsense about garborzonia.
Then we meet Laura, whom I found to be a robust, fascinating and very well written character. She lives with her parents, she persistently abuses drugs and her own body in pursuit of reckless sex. Her father (Ray Wise) has an unhealthy fixation on her and her mother (Grace Zabriske) is too much of a weakling to do anything about it. The only solace that Laura seems to find is in her friend Donna (Moira Kelly) whom she almost takes down with her.
All of this is fine and good. I wanted to see a movie about this particular subject but Lynch isn’t satisfied with just a simple story, no, he has to leaden it with a lot of weird rooms, backward talking midgets, nonsensical twisty timelines and unnecessary plot machinations. I swear the last hour of the movie just seems to completely leave the earth.
I would like to have seen that story. I think Lynch had it in his hands to make a great drama about a trailer trash girl with a drug habit, an unhealthy sex life and a home life that is a ticking time bomb. That would have made for the kind of drama that Tennessee Williams would have envied. C’mon David use your gifts for great filmmaking and stop with the self-indulgence already.