Laura Harring as Rita (left) alongside Naomi Watts (right) as Betty Elms
“Oh! I can’t believe it!” are the first lines in David Lynch’s psychological neo-noir masterpiece, and what an accurate summation of my feelings for the rest of the film. Originally conceived as a television series, “Mulholland Drive” is a dreamy, cerebral art-house-esque flick that struck it big with critics and movie buffs in 2001. This surrealist’s dream movie is almost incomprehensible, and as things unravel and reveal themselves in the movie, there is only less to understand if you’re a casual movie goer. You could argue that essentially there is no plot, and I understand where that argument comes from, but I disagree with that statement. The film paints itself as merely a simple story, but in that story there is in fact an intricate, multilayered plot. It is required, however, to delve deep within this movie’s complex structure to find this plot.
On the surface the film is the tale of an amnesiac, played by Laura Harring, who arrives in her state of amnesia from a car accident, and the perky Hollywood hopeful Betty, played by Naomi Watts in a breakthrough performance. Watts is incredible and is able to play a very polarized character, with Harring being a great support that can be both innocent and menacing. Together, the two try to discover the identity of Harring and are pulled into a psychotic illusion involving a blue box, a director named Adam Kesher (played by Justin Theroux), and a mysterious night club named Silencio.