I started watching this knowing nothing about it except that I liked David Lynch’s T.V. series Twin Peaks – big mistake! It all started well. A brunette (Laura Harring) survives a car crash and stumbles through the night to an apartment, where she breaks in and takes a shower. Unable to remember who she is she sees a poster for a Rita Heyworth film and decides to call herself Rita. A perfect blonde Betty (Naomi Watts) arrives in Hollywood and goes to the apartment which belongs to her aunt, all Disney smiles and sweetness, she hardly wonders why there’s a strange women in her shower and starts to help Rita discover her identity. Thinking she might be Diane Selwyn, they track down an address for that name and find a corpse on the bed and a small box. Betty, the hopeful actress gives an amazing audition for a film but the part goes to a women called Camilla Rhodes. The mysteries and curious characters (who is the cowboy?) are piling up but a constant feeling of menace and tension kept us on our seats. There comes an outing to Club Silencio where we’re told ‘nothing is as it seems’, and then a key was put into the blue box, the screen went black and we were swallowed up.
Now everyone has changed names. Sweet Betty has become haunted, suicidal Diane, Rita has become self-assured actress Camilla and all hopefulness has turned to despair. What is going on? What becomes clear(ish) is that we’ve been living with Betty’s fantasy – a vibrantly coloured world where she is a success as an actor and with the person she loves. Her reality of depression, jealousy and addiction in a film about innocence and corruption, love and loneliness, beauty and depravity is often seen as David Lynch’s perspective on the film industry.
Reams and reams have been written about the questions asked in Mulholland Drive and there seems to be as many answers. It would have been useful to have had some of this information before I watched, so now I know what I’m getting myself into another viewing might make a lot more sense, although I don’t think the mystery will ever be solved.