Lost Highway (1997)

(On DVD, September 2016) I’m not really surprised to find out that I dislike Lost Highway (I’m generally cold on David Lynch’s filmography), but I am surprised to realize how much I disliked it. Part of it, admittedly has to do with the terrible DVD version of the film. Seemingly recorded from a VHS tape, it has wavy lines, a 3:4 aspect ratio, no subtitles and a muddy picture quality. (Any thought that it was intentional is quickly dispelled by looking at the film’s Wikipedia page: the 2003 DVD version that I saw is almost universally reviled.) But trying to blame the DVD for the bad movie-watching experience is nonsense: the film itself is deliberately enigmatic, presenting the same roles being played by different characters, plays with dream logic, showcases bizarre imagery and doesn’t really give much through to its narrative. There is, to be charitable, a way to make sense of this, delving deep into trauma response, identity dissociation and debilitating guilt. But at this moment, I’m not interested in playing games, hunting sub-textual clues, piecing together the answer or basically doing anything but watching a story. So I flip over the table and declare defeat: I don’t like Lost Highway and I have no intention to revisiting it anytime soon. That DVD is going away, and good riddance.

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