When it comes to Lynch, I've never had a clear opinion. Apart from him being weird, of course, that's a given. I've watched only three of his films, and even though I loved 'Blue Velvet,' I've never had a temptation to touch his other work. Despite being one of the most talked-about filmmakers, I've made sure to avoid watching his work. And that's because of this film. 'Mulholland Drive' is the first Lynch film I watched, and it left me baffled. At first, I thought the film was a big pretentious crap, but then, as I kept watching movies, I realized that maybe I just wasn't ready for it when I first saw it. Today I confirmed that doubt. The learned lesson here: you don't dive head-first with an untrained intuition and high expectations into something like this. After this rewatch of the movie, I found myself slapping my forehead because of how struck I was by what Lynch was able to conjure here.
It is self-evident that someone can understand something without being able to articulate it verbally. And that there is a considerable distinction between understanding something intuitively and verbalizing that intuition in words eloquent enough to communicate it without demeaning it. However, although 'Mulholland Drive' it's referred to as one of the most ambiguous films ever made, I think that the film it's much more lucid than people describe it to be. On a macro scale, you can interpret 'Mulholland Drive' however you want in terms of what it is about, a "fantasy versus reality relationship," the first half of it being a dream, the whole thing is a dream - whatever. All of those are somewhat justifiable plots. It's easier than it looks to create an idea of what the movie it's about, but I would be put in an unmanageable situation if asked to describe the bottomless emotional impact the movie had on me. Anyway, I'm going to give it a try. There were times here where I found myself completely detached from what surrounded me and got thrown in a free-fall mode into these strongly pertaining moments (the song in the theater, the ending scene, and more). It's a gut feeling response to what you see and hear that for a moment there, you're even not aware you're having. Watching the movie was a highly visceral experience for me.
The thing that impresses me the most in this film is that even though this is an abstract movie, apparently themeless, Lynch manages to create a captivating atmosphere throughout. There are so many things going on here. 'Mulholland Drive is a messy film in terms of structure, but what's always consistent in it, it's the mood. Lynch's idea for the film's atmosphere engulfs all of its pieces and gives them a sense of relevance to each other. Though, for what I think takes place in the movie, those seemingly unrelated scenes aren't irrelevant at all. But I'm not going to get into interpretations here because I want to "promote" the idea that a film doesn't necessarily need a theme, at least not a cohesive one, to deliver high art. And in the case of 'Mulholland Drive,' it's precisely this lack of a transparent plot that stimulates the art and makes the movie one of the best films I've ever come across. - Sits very comfortably amongst my fifteen best films.