Watched: 17 September

David Lynch’s debut film is a mysterious, stark and troubling nightmare brought to life, in which alien-like babies are born and, uh, ‘cared for’, a god-like figure in the sky pulls mechanical levers that presumably are affecting or controlling events down on Earth (which has become, apparently, an industrial wasteland), weirdo families stumble through awkward, skin-crawling dinners together and disturbing body horror takes place. It’s utterly fascinating in itself, but viewed within the framework of Lynch’s entire filmography it’s quite a surprise to see how many tropes appear here that have become familiar because of his later work: the strange, otherwordly torch singer (memorably, here, The Lady In The Radiator, played by Laurel Near), for example, the zigzag patterns on carpets, the sudden shift into unsettling passages where dreams meet reality, the 1950s-influenced characters and production design, and just the skin-crawling oddness of all of that put together, along with the superb sound design and weird inserted images. Trying to figure out what it all means is a thrill, and an impossibility. (****½)

Comments 2

  1. Mark Walker October 12, 2017

    Aah! I see you’ve added the comments section again?

    Anyways, good to see you tackle this. I’ve tried recently to get into it and I keep falling asleep. Not that I’m not enjoying it but I keep putting it on too late. It’s a fascinating work from Lynch. Very much in tune with Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return.

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