It took a very long while for me to be able to get hold of a copy of Lost Highway, but it finally became available on Lovefilm a week or so ago and after putting it as my only high priority it finally came. I now only have one Lynch film left to watch, Dune, which I am slightly worried about but for now lets get on with Lost Highway.
The film has a feel a lot more like a horror film than most of Lynch’s work. There is, I’ve decided, a theme of possession, because nothing’s ever 100% clear with Lynch, but the theme has been evident in a number of his other works, perhaps most notably in Twin Peaks with the story of Laura Palmer’s possessed father. My theory for the plot is that the guy pictured above (the Mystery Man) has unfinished business with Robert Loggia’s character Mr. Eddy, who is a gangster in the porn industry. Through some kind of supernatural powers the Mystery Man takes our protagonist, Fred, back in time and shows him his girlfriend being used by this gangster, as it goes on the Mystery Man takes him back and forth in time and ultimately gets him to a position ready to kill Mr. Eddy. Although this is all just speculation, as always, the narrative is very cryptic.
The theme feels slightly more mainstream than those found in Lynch’s more abstract features making it, probably, most similar to Blue Velvet when compared to the rest of his back catalogue. The plot seems a lot clearer than in more recent titles like Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire.
The music is a highlight of the film, unusually taking a role right at the forefront of the films action. It has deep low tones layered beneath almost every scene, particularly in the first half, creating an unrelenting feeling of eeriness throughout. This is juxtaposed very well with the use of nu-metal songs that completely take control of the action scenes. The style, in itself, is very unique a mixture of film noir with horror and a good dose of just general David Lynchian weirdness.
In conclusion, it has become one of my favourite Lynch films so far. The tone is set so well and tension is built effectively all the way through. Scattered along the way are incredibly artistically shot sex scenes that show a darker side to the characters they involve and the most graphic violence of any Lynch picture, again adding to the more mainstream horror vibe. The story seems a lot more understandable than many of his other films while still being encompassed by mysteriousness. And all of this adds up to one of the most well-crafted films I’ve seen in years, a truly under-rated masterpiece.