Lost Highway – Criterion Edition Review

Director: David Lynch

Writers: David Lynch and Barry Gifford

Starring: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Blake, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Richard Pryor, Gary Busey, and Robert Loggia

David Lynch’s 1997 Lost Highway has received the Criterion treatment in the UK, with a new 4K restoration, special features and a booklet containing an extract from the book Lynch on Lynch. For Lynch die-hard fans it’s a must have, as the latest of his films to get a special re-release (although Blue Velvet still hasn’t had a UK release from Criterion like it has in America). The restoration is brilliant, and the extras are well worth watching. If you’ve seen the film before, and are still seeking answers to what’s actually going on, then there’s not much here that’s going to help.

When Lost Highway first came out reaction was pretty mixed. It received a lot of criticism for being indecipherable, overly violent and sexual. While at the same time others praised it for being a return to form and something more in line with Lynch’s first film Eraserhead. Like Lynch’s film before this one, Fire Walk With Me, time has been very kind to Lost Highway. It now has a cult following, and some rank it as one of his best films, seeing it as a stepping stone towards Mulholland Drive.

The film itself is one of Lynch’s least accessible stories. It starts out simple enough, with a couple, Fred (Bill Pullman) and Renee (Patricia Arquette), who are in a dark period in their relationship, receiving a video showing the outside of their house, that they dismiss. They then receive another showing them sleeping. The first act sets up a great thriller, and then the story takes a left turn when Fred murders Renee and is given the death sentence. Things get stranger still when Fred, while in prison, transforms into Pete (Balthazar Getty) and is released, only for his life to get dangerous. It’s a weird and strange story that doesn’t make much sense when taken at face value.

Like a lot of Lynch’s work, it’s something that really does let you make your own mind up as what’s going on, and there’s so many ways to interpret it. If you’ve never seen it, and are interested, you should watch it yourself. Make your own mind up about what’s going on. The extras on the criterion release, which include some good archival interviews, will enlighten the path, but it doesn’t hold your hand to explaining what you’ve watched. There isn’t featurette explaining everything like there was on last year’s re-release of Mulholland Drive.

It’s a dense dreamlike story, filled with bizarre moments, a time loop, and very little answers. At its heart it’s a story about memory and identity, but there’s so many layers packed on top of it. It’s frustrating to watch, as when you think you’ve cracked it, you’ll find a flaw in your ideas. It’s a bit of everything, what starts as a what seems like a straightforward thriller filled with paranoia, ends with you scratching your head questioning what you’ve just watched. It’ll have you thinking long after the films over. The line between reality and fantasy is blurred completely, and there’s a lot to uncover throughout the film.

Lost Highway is more of an experience, than it is a self-contained mystery. At points it’s more style over substance, but it’s very well made. The music is fantastic, featuring a score from Angelo Badalamenti and songs from Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Lou Reed. It’s visual captivating, and the new restoration looks great. The extras are well worth watching/reading, but don’t expect to come away with a concrete answer to anything.

Thanks for reading! If you liked my review, please subscribe to never miss a post:

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
This entry was posted in film reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s