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Lost Highway

USA/France 1997. Dir: David Lynch. 134 min. 35mm

35mm PRINT! “Dick Laurent is dead.” Untangling the mystery behind that cryptic message is just one of the deranged delights of Lost Highway, David Lynch’s terrifying, polarizing, Möbius-strip of a horror flick. Its bifurcated story, co-written by Barry Gifford (who penned the source material for Lynch’s Palme d'Or-winning Wild at Heart), begins straightforwardly enough: Fred (Bill Pullman), a jazz saxophonist who suspects his wife (Patricia Arquette) of infidelity, starts receiving ominous VHS tapes shot from inside the couple’s LA home. The mindfuckery commences when Lynch flips the lid and transforms Fred into a young, ‘50s-style greaser (Balthazar Getty) in deep with the mob and the mob-boss’s wife (Arquette again). Sandwiched between the unfairly-derided Twin Peaks prequel and the much-exalted Mulholland Drive, the director’s seventh — and scariest — film feels like a fever-dream of Lynchian extremes: part Black Lodge horror, part neo-noir puzzle box. Trent Reznor produced the Industrial-heavy soundtrack, de rigueur in ’90s CD collections. “A true horror film … Absolutely terrifying for reasons that you understand and don’t” (Dennis Lim).


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REVIEWS

“Lynch at his most daring, emotional, and personal … Contains some of his most haunting, prosaic work.”

Slant | full review

“Coolly ominous … An elaborate hallucination that could never be mistaken for the work of anyone else.”

New York Times | full review

“A mysterious, enthralling neo-noir … Deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as the cult director’s best work.”

Little White Lies | full review