Ever watch a movie and when the credits roll feel that you have no idea what just happened? Actually, it doesn't happen much these days unless you fall asleep and miss part of the plotline. Hollywood really likes to spell it out these days. The last time I had this sensation was with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I watched this with perhaps not the best frame of mind for a challenging film and when it was over, I headed to IMDB to find an explanation for the past 141 minutes of my life. It's a rewatch in the sense that on the first watch, you will probably get lost. I mean, the flicks these days just really don't challenge you in the same way. I even watched it after the lecture in my Sci-Fi class and still felt pretty lost, despite the fact that I was decently well-prepared.
I was not prepared in the least to watch Mulholland Dr. The only thing I knew about this movie is that it involved a woman with amnesia and took place in Los Angeles. Believe me, if you haven't seen it, just stop reading right now and watch it. It's really good, based on the 8.0 rating on IMDB, so you don't need to read a review to convince you. Just enter into the world of Mulholland Dr. the way I did without knowing a thing about it. It's best that way. Stop reading, right about, now... (Spoilers ahead)
Well, now that we have gotten rid of those losers. Heh. Just kidding. In fact, maybe you're back after watching Mulholland Dr. and you've found yourself as lost as I was last night. If you're confused, rewatch the first 2 and a half minutes. Right after the jitterbug scene. The red sheets and the red pillow approaching. A troubled girl falls asleep and dreams that life is better, and that's the key that unlocks this film. The first two thirds or more are just a dream. The dream takes pieces of Diana's reality and combines them with fantasy, so that she can have the pretty life of Betty - a talented, sweet girl who falls in love with a woman with no memory of past wrongs. In her dream Diana is able to have Camilla back, to punish the man who stole her, and live the dream of being an actual good actress.
It would have been nice to be able to resist the temptation to find the explanation, and watch Mulholland Dr. again to figure it out for myself, right? In fact, early after Diana awakens t I predicted that she had Camilla killed, but didn't understand how it was possible based on the events from the first half of the movie. As the credits rolled, it appeared that my theory was correct, but I still didn't understand why. This is the kind of thing we should get more from films, and perhaps the reason audiences don't get it on the first pass is that we're not used to thinking critically about what we're seeing. We're used to being handed the answers on a silver platter. I was really counting on something explaining to me that Diana had killed Camilla and was simply dreaming of what her life could have been as Betty Elms, which is why when I didn't understand the answer, I went straight to Google, as have many before me and many after me. Rather than continuing on like that, I'm going to endeavor to watch some of IMDB's highest rated films and seek out more confusing, mind-boggling, frustrating pieces of cinema and I hope you will join me.