MD - most complete/accurate interpretation I've seen

Original Poster
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 26

Here's an interpretation from a guy over at twinpeaksgazette. I've read it several times and this totally work for me.

It's very long - and very good I think.

Here it comes:

Alfred Romo
Apr-04-02, 06:08 AM (CST)

"MULHOLLAND DR. In My Mind - An Interpretation - **SPOILERS**"

What Phil, in an earlier post, didn't mention is that the afterlife idea is mine.
This is my sole interpretation of the most thought-provoking film of 2001, and one of the most complex ever released, MULHOLLAND DR. For years I've felt I can identify with David Lynch's work. I try to study his films, analyze them, and put them together in some way, shape or form that satisfies me.

MULHOLLAND DR. is also my selection for Best Picture of 2001.
Essentially, here's what I think about the whole thing... this is always open to discussion! =)

If MULHOLLAND DR. were a conventional film, we'd see the following scenes in this order:

1) The CAR REHEARSAL SCENE, where Diane watches Camilla and Adam in action, on set, as he directs Camilla and a male lead. "When you kiss her, it's just a continuation of that move...there's no break..." -And they kiss as Diane watches, thin-lipped.

2) Then, we'd have the scene where Diane hops over the sofa onto Camilla's lap. They are both shirtless and kiss lightly. Camilla insists they break it off and Diane is upset. "It's him, isn't it?" - This lets us know she's frustrated with Adam and Camilla's relationship.

3) Next would be Diane shoving Camilla out the apartment, "You want me to make this easy for you! No ****in' way! It's not gonna be! It isn't for me!" and slams the door in her face.

4) Camilla calls Diane and invites her to a party. "Diane, the car is waiting." Diane attends, greets Adam (Justin Theroux) and his mother, Coco, (Ann Miller). As the night goes on, she spills her guts to Koko, speaks volumes in expressions of her relationship with Camilla. She mentions meeting Camilla on the set of The Sylvia North Story and mentions the director not "...thinking much of..." her. "She helped me getting some parts in some of her films." Coco nods, knowingly, patting Diane's hand. "I see". Diane also sees Camilla kissing another actress. Then, comes the engagement announcement. These are all solidifying means to break it off with Diane for good - and Diane is obviously upset.

5) THE DINER. Diane hires a hit man to off Camilla. She mentioned lots of money her aunt left her, here it shows. The black bag. We are also introduced to the line "This is the girl." -referring to Camilla. The hit man is anxious of someone overhearing, as Diane is upset and loudmouth. Waitress BETTY is noted. The Hit man insists Diane be sure of her intentions. Once money is exchanged, the job is as good as done. Paid, he tells her of the blue key. "When it's finished, you'll find this where I told you.? Diane notices Dan, the Man With A Dream.

6) In THE ACCIDENT, Camilla is killed.

7) The next sequence would be Diane's neighbor knocking at her door to collect her things. Diane wakes, opens the door, the neighbor gets her stuff, and we see the Blue Key and Diane's neighbor warns her of snooping detectives. "Oh, by the way, those two detectives came looking for ya." Diane, then, hallucinates (surreally or otherwise) Camilla's bright, always-make-up'd self. "Camilla... you've come back." -At this point, Camilla is already dead.

8) The final scene of the traditional storyline of MULHOLLAND DR. places Diane in a compromising position. The cops are on her tail. Switching bungalows with a neighbor didn't throw them off. She's head-over-heels guilty for having the object of her obsession (Camilla) killed. From desperation, hopelessness & guilt, Diane kills herself.
NOW... the trip begins.

The entire first and second acts of MULHOLLAND DR. are death trips. That's what makes this film so unique. This is a film about the things we see when we die. In life, Diane was overwrought with failure. She said so much to Coco in the DINNER PARTY scene. Her lover abandoned her. In Diane's afterlife, she's recreated an ideal situation for herself, where she:

1) Arrives in Hollywood. Remember how she describes it? "...I just came here from Deep River, Ontario and now I'm in this -- dream place."

2) Meets her lover, transcending Camilla's position in reality (from a cold bitch) to someone with NO memory, practically someone who needs to rely on someone. Diane creates a situation in her afterlife where, as Betty the Actress, Camilla (now Rita with no memory), needs her, relies on her, emotionally and physically - much like Diane's obsession with Camilla in real life.

3) Diane, as Betty in her afterlife, creates a situation where her ideal potential is realized. Remember her discussion with Coco and an unnamed man at the DINNER PARTY, where she mentions a director who didn't care much for her? The man next to her calls him, "Bob Booker." This is the director who enjoys Betty's performance in THE AUDITION scene. In real life, Booker hated Diane. In Diane's ideal afterlife, Booker adores her as Betty.

4) Diane (as Betty) means to help Camilla (as Rita) discover herself. In real life, Diane must have had a horrible time identifying herself, always riding the coat tails of her famous, dead aunt. Now, she trails Camilla (to maintain a relationship). In her afterlife, Diane (as Betty), creates a situation where, through discovery, discovers her own death by finding her own corpse.

THIS IS WHERE DIANE'S AFTERLIFE SPINS SOMEWHAT OUT OF CONTROL, into a tailspin of the weird, surreal, truthful & tragic.

5) It is significant to note Diane's understanding of Camilla's death as somewhat detached. After all, at this point she is still an "Earthbound" spirit so drama is sure to envelop much of her afterlife. We see this in the scene where the Hit man kills a giggly, long-haired man with "THE BLACK BOOK," referred to as ?The History of the World,? and a couple of other innocent people. Remember when the long-haired guy says "A freakin' car accident. Can you believe that?" -These may be Diane's thoughts surfacing in characters in her afterlife.

6) She is LOVED for her acting. In reality, Diane was no more than a hopeful"...I won this jitterbug contest. That sort of led to acting." -In her afterlife, Diane (as Betty) floors Bob Booker, Wally Brown & the others. In this scene, we here one of the most important lines of the film:

"Don't Play it real until it gets real."-Bob Booker, (Wayne Grace).

This is significant of Diane's situation. At the start of the film, some may consider the dialogue and story progression somewhat plotted and silly. In reality, it is meant to be plotted and straightforward, without the "likes" and "you-knows" of contemporary dialogue. What we consider as generic and artificial, though, IS generic and artificial in the sense that all we see and hear of "BETTY" is a fabrication in Diane's afterlife. Booker's words are meant to signify a point in the film where situations for Betty show their layers. Layers, mind you, so well developed in the proceeding scenes, we hardly notice they're there till they kick us in the nuts.

7) "SEEING ADAM" is an important scene, indicating Diane's acknowledgment of Adam as an entity in her life. She walks in on his auditioning various singers, including the ravishing Melissa George as "THE BLONDE GIRL," and eye contact is all the acknowledgement her soul needs, thus she retreats to previous engagements with Camilla. That's when they discover Diane's corpse.

8) Low and behold, Diane and Camilla are lovers again. The passion of withheld emotions erupts in Betty & Rita's sex scene. Here, in the afterlife, it's love. In reality, it began as love. Through rejection (from Camilla), Diane?s love quickly deteriorated into obsession.

9) SILENCIO brings a lot of MULHOLLAND DR. into the light, emotionally. First, we here a description as follows: "NO AYE BANDA" Or, No Band ... "...and yet, we HEAR a band." And, "It is all a tape." -Here, we have a scene of truths surfacing. The theatre is a gathering place of lost souls, where coming to terms with the end, new beginnings, situations & people lost, and hearing LLORANDO (crying), takes place. Diane and Camilla find themselves here. Here, we realize, both Diane and Camilla needed to let go, release their anger, hate, fear, loathing & jealousy. At this point, though, it's too late for sorries. Here, Diane also shakes violently. After the singing, Diane discovers the Blue Box. She and Camilla meddle with it. Betty disappears. When Camilla opens the box, (with the blue key), I think Diane's afterlife trip begins all over again, from the time she arrives in Hollywood to the time she returns home from the concert with Camilla.

VANILLA SKY did this to some extent. The entire film is a man's trip in a cryogenic state. But, we'll get to that later.

That box is a trigger that loops Diane's afterlife experience. You know how people see ghosts trapped in a routine all the time? The beginning and middle of MULHOLLAND DR. are Diane's routine.

Perhaps, she and Camilla haunt Hollywood...? =)

Also, her dislike of Adam in reality embodies itself in his being pursued and threatened in her afterlife. She strips him of his control, something she clearly didn't care for in reality. Besides, as a director, calling the shots is important. Diane denies Adam this in her afterlife where SHE calls the shots.

To me, THE COWBOY represents an extension of Diane that participates in Diane's ruining Adam. "How many drivers does a buggy have?" Adam replies, "One." Like in directing, there is one director (at least, in Adam's ideal professional situation. It's obvious he likes to call the shots). Diane, through The Cowboy, the Castigliani brothers, etc... strips Adam of that ideal control and puts him in a helpless position. Remember, he's also lost a wife, was beat up, his film is toyed with out of his hands. All these things are Diane's invention of Adam in her afterlife experience. Post-mortem revenge.

The Cowboy also says, "Now, you will see me one more time if you do good. You will see me two more times if you do bad." How many times do we see the Cowboy after his introduction? Twice. Once, after Betty & Rita disappear, the Cowboy opens the door to Diane's apartment where she lies in the way she did in death, and says, "Hey pretty girl. Time to wake up." Second, during the dinner party, after Camilla kisses the Blonde Actress. Blonde Actress walks off and the Cowboy passes through the hallway and out the house.

We've seen the Cowboy twice. Someone has done bad. I think this refers back to Diane, as SHE has done bad. I think The Cowboy speaks to a wider audience, illustrating the fact that Diane severely screwed up, let her emotions run away with her, caused some death and hurt a lot of people. Bad, indeed.

I think THE BUM is actually Diane. I think it's Diane's corpse, the rot in her soul. "He's the one that's doing this," says the Man With A Dream in the beginning, but it's not a he it's a SHE. Diane is responsible for her afterlife, regardless of what form her super consciousness takes. The Cowboy may represent the part of her that seeks revenge, much as traditional cowboys of history did. This is HER ride, her buggy. And only one driver.

Also, THE BUM is played by a woman, Bonnie Aarons, which adds water to my suggestion that The Bum is Diane (a woman) and not a ?he.?

All in all, the conventional storyline of an affair between two people leading to jealousy and murder is classic Hollywood fare, especially set in the City of Dreams. The lines of reality and fantasy are blurred in a manner only David Lynch can execute.

So... why do I discharge the dream theory? I don?t entirely discharge it, only see a much more interesting avenue to travel when explaining MULHOLLAND DR.

There are several layers to discharging the dream theory. First & foremost, to say the first two acts of MULHOLLAND DR. are "a dream" is just too easy.

In analyzing the film, I tackled each point of the film deciding whether or not explanations were too easy or to complicated. At one point, I figured The Bum was the Hit man (I was thrown off by the line "He's the one that's doing it.") When I tried to fit The Hit man into the role of The Bum, I found myself having to make far too many excuses for that association. Perhaps he was in the limo and was killed trying to kill Camilla. Or, perhaps Diane's impressions of The Hit man embodied in her afterlife as The Bum, still considering the line "He's the one who?s doing this." BUT, he couldn't have been in the limo because we would have seen his dirty blonde head and both hit men in the limo had one-tone hair, not too dark but light brown. He couldn't have been Diane's impression of him as The Bum in her afterlife because he's already himself. No angle I took reached something satisfying. But - low and behold - a light went on upstairs. The Bum IS Diane. It's her rotting corpse. -Makes sense now. It's not too easy, not too complicated. It's a thoughtful explanation that's creepy and just what one can expect from David Lynch.

David Lynch's films are never simple. Each film takes a traditional, simple plot and adds layers of eclectic surrealism with roots in matters of the conscious, subconscious & super conscious. We have to consider the fact that the whole "dream" thing is way overdone and a tired escape for scripts full of holes. Instead of wrapping up scenarios properly, a writer will throw in a character "waking up," immediately vindicating the story progression from setting a finale & tying up loose ends.

Dreams are something audiences are used to. If you don't understand something, make it a dream and it all goes away. That way, nothing has to be explained, nothing has to be patched up, and nothing needs fulfilling. Have a look at the percentage of people who consider MULHOLLAND DR. a dream. My point is proven.

This is something David Lynch does not subscribe to. His daughter, Jennifer Chambers Lynch, made perfectly well what copping out with dreams can do to an otherwise promising project. BOXING HELENA suffered for it, not only at the box office but also from the critics.

The thing about a dream is that dreams are escapable. Watching MULHOLLAND DR. gave me the feeling of being stuck in a blend of reality & idealism. Dreams are reflections of our reality, either hopes or fears, but not tangible nor ideal. They just ARE. Death, on the other hand, is very real and not always ideal but for the best. They say we must pay for our errors in the next life. If that's the case, everything that happens here is for the best and what we take with us are our lessons learned (and mistakes) for further analysis in the next life.

In watching MULHOLLAND DR. from start to finish, we see Diane's mistakes (in the third act) but see how they materialize (in the first and second acts).

I know why the Dream Thesis comes about, though. After Betty & Rita disappear, we see a couple of fade ins & outs, and The Cowboy open Diane's door. "Hey, pretty girl. Time to wake up." And, Diane wakes up. In the film, what I call her afterlife trip directly precedes her waking up. Makes it look like a dream, doesn't it? Also, in understanding that place between wake & sleep, it's very easy to bring with us images from our dreams that only fade away when we fully wake. The Cowboy could be a character she first saw at the Dinner Party (she was looking directly at The Blonde Actress when The Cowboy passes through the hallway, out the house), and he embodied himself not only in her dream but also in her sleep-to-waking state, triggering her wakefulness to meet her neighbor's knocking at her door.

If you look at it analytically, it's very easy to describe MULHOLLAND DR. as a dream.

HOWEVER... it's too easy. To say acts 1 and 2 are a dream is also saying much of what one doesn't understand (like the Adam subplot, the Hit man, Mr. Roque?s Studio & the telephone calls), are entirely irrelevant because it was a dream anyway. In a dream, nothing HAS to make sense. It's too easy to say Diane dreamt it all because all that would remain from a dream are the major incidences and MULHOLLAND DR. is made up mostly of subtleties and details. Dreams have NO attention to detail.

Off-topic, even in song, we hear "Dream A Little Dream of Me."
Dreams, for the most part, are little - or remembered that way. We dream extensively yet remember seconds. To say it was all a dream is giving Diane A LOT of credit. In a dream, explanations are not necessary. After all, they are only dreams. If you piece together MULHOLLAND DR. as I have, you begin to notice an attention to detail uncharacteristic of dreams. One need only look past Lynch to his daughter?s BOXING HELENA. There is absolutely NO attention to detail in that film. It's primarily made up of Julian Sands & Sherilyn Fenn necking against a black background. THAT's a dream. MULHOLLAND DR. seems like more. Neither, does the plot of BOXING HELENA skew far from Julian Sands' character at any point. MULHOLLAND DR., on the other hand, has its sub-plots that escape Diane, even though they are manifestations of her feelings in a reality unlike ours. Why? That reality is death.

Here is my overbearing reason for applying an Afterlife spin to MULHOLLAND DR...

I have studied the afterlife for many, many years. I've had numerous personal experiences with "ghosts," and Near-Death/Out-of-Body-Experiences, not only in my personal research and experience, but on traditional Haunted Tours across the country. I firmly subscribe to the idea that we never die but "step out" of our bodies. The physical self dies, not the spiritual. If I (and those who can speak to people on the other side, like Sylvia Browne, James Van Praag, John Edward & Mary Altea to name a most credible few) are correct, and we DO cross over into another realm, one need only look to the many haunting cases of Hollywood.

At the Roosevelt Hotel (7000 Hollywood Blvd.), Marilyn Monroe is constantly spotted in a full-length mirror, originally located in her poolside Suite 1200, where Marilyn often stayed. The mirror in which her image appears is now located next to the elevator on the lower level.

Harry Houdini roams about the remains of his former home at 2398 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, in the Hollywood Hills.

Clifton Webb is constantly at his old residence, 1005 Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills.

George Reeves still wanders about 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive.
Thomas Ince makes a fuss over at Culver Studios (9336 Washington Blvd, in Culver City), all the time.

Montgomery Clift wanders the Roosevelt Hotel, too (#928, 9th floor). AND he still plays his trumpet, roams the hallways & is usually heard "reciting old lines."

Most notably, there's Thelma Todd... in the early 1930's she made comedies with Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers & Buster Keaton. She also ran a beachside cafe between Malibu & Pacific Palisades (17575 Pacific Coast Highway). Lucky Luciano wanted to run some unsavory numbers in her cafe and she said "Over my dead body." "That can be arranged," he said. Sure enough, Todd was found dead in 1935, bloody & beaten with the car running in her upstairs garage. Now, it's Paulist Productions and EVERYONE there has not only seen but HEARD her, walking about, crying (llorando), traveling up the same stretch of street and steps.

All these ghosts do these things over and over and over. This is common knowledge with those of us who follow Parapsychology. Spirits who cross over with, either unfinished business or before their time or from suicide, instantly become what are known as "Earthbound" spirits. They are neither in our realm nor the proper realm of the afterlife, but between realms where, as entities, they are stuck in situations that left the most impact on them in traditional life.

Take Thelma Todd, for example. She loved life. Rarely was she seen without a smile. She loved her work and was well respected. She was living a dream life, especially with her cafe. That was her world. The Mafia insisted on ruining her perfect world and she wouldn't have it. I think she knew the risks but opted to chance being killed. In the end, I'm sure it came as a surprise. Out of the cold, dead darkness of night came these thugs and they ended her promising, young life violently.

This can safely be called a "tragic passing." Tragic passings make ghosts, there's no question about that. However, let's remove our perceptions of what a ghost is and look at things from the GHOST'S perspective. Todd, as a ghost, is trapped between two realms. One - (life) - she loved with a passion. The other, the reality that life is over and a new existence must begin. However, she's not ready to give up her old life, her old material possessions, her cafe, perhaps even little things she liked to do - like taking walks up & down Pacific Coast Highway.

Where is she today? Roaming the cafe she so loved and roaming up & down Pacific Coast Highway.

She goes through "a routine" that is similar to the life she led here. Monroe always loved that mirror at the Roosevelt, and she's still looking at herself in it today. Clift is heard rehearsing scripts from the early 1950s. These are "loops" the ghosts are in, and most ghosts go through it, from what the pros say.

Reeves, Webb, Houdini all went back home. They return to a familiar place. Most to all ghosts do this, as well. Part of me wants to think Diane returned to the house her aunt (now dead, as we learn in the Dinner Party scene) lived in. Perhaps that's the house the first & second acts took place in. Of course, someone else lives there now but perhaps Diane visited her aunt there, on occasion, and dying in Hollywood shipped her off to the most familiar place in town -her aunt's house.

While watching MULHOLLAND DR. (all the times I have) I noticed details and behaviours characteristic of ghosts. The returning to familiar places, the seeking something, the crying (Llorando), and when it came time to explain The Blue Box - there was only one way to fit it all together. These are the goings & comings of someone who made an adventure for herself on the other side after completely blowing it in this life. Again, she recreated her situation to suit her needs, her wishes, her hopes.

As a dream, MULHOLLAND DR. is full of loose ends, (the phone calls, Mr. Roque?s Studio, , The Cowboy, The Bum, The Blue Box, The Blue Key, The Black Book (History of the World), Dan (The Man With A Dream), Club Silencio. -All these things go unresolved if MULHOLLAND DR. is a dream because they're not important anyway. Balls with it, it's only a dream, right?

I disagree. As an Afterlife experience, MULHOLLAND DR. has NO unresolved issues. The Cowboy, The Castigliani Brothers and Mr. Roque?s Studio are pieces of Diane that topple Adam and his overbearing control. The Black Book known as "The History of the World" is full of the review of Diane's life. Even popular religions indicate a "Book of Life" to be dealt with when we cross over. The phone calls are internal to Diane, alerting various parts of herself to situations that need resolving. Club Silencio is a place where "Earthbound" spirits gather. Llorando, as a song, speaks volumes of the condition of Earthbound spirits. Todd is heard crying. So is Valentino & George Reeves, among GALLONS of reported ghosts across the world. In the real world, ghosts cry - and they cry in MULHOLLAND DR., too.

Even Rebekah Del Rio is called "LA LLORONA DE LOS ANGELES." -The Cryer of the Angels-

People who have crossed are often referred to as "angels" or "guardian angels," depending on who is referring to them. Here, the situation is no different. La Llorona De Los Angeles puts on a never-ending show for the lost angels (angeles/spirits) of Club Silencio.

David Lynch has never dealt directly with dreams. It's not his style. LOST HIGHWAY wasn't a dream, ERASERHEAD wasn't a dream, neither were TWIN PEAKS or BLUE VELVET. These films deal with people who conflict and face, nose to nose, their internal selves, their demons, their fears, their pasts. Only once has David Lynch made dreams integral to a story and no one thought much of DUNE in the same way no one thought much of BOXING HELENA (his daughter's take on dreams). What makes David Lynch's work so pleasing, fulfilling & downright eerie is the fact that his stories have their foundations in reality. Our souls are real, the afterlife is real, our inner-selves are real. His most widely accepted films have a foot in reality. When dreams come into play, the foundation lies in the intangible, not the tangible, (again, see DUNE & BOXING HELENA).

This may be another reason MULHOLLAND DR. wasn't as widely accepted as it should have been. No one got it and that's a CRYING shame. =)
There has been wide speculation over the old people (Irene & Irene?s Companion) who accompany Diane through the end & beginning of the film.

Here?s my take on the old people?

In many cases of near-death experiences, people describe other people - or spirits - who come for them. These people guide the newly deceased into their afterlife. From what people who have died and returned say, it's fairly common to be greeted by people you know and guided towards whatever light people see.

Thing is, many also recognize people they DO NOT know, but these ?strangers? know them. I recall the story of a very credible woman who died during surgery. After she came back, she described as much. People familiar, people unfamiliar... of course, death is surely different for everyone, but the general concensus is that there are people waiting on the other side for us, whether we know them or not.

Given that, the old people chasing Diane represents the fact that she went nuts, also representing these "spirits" that come for us, regardless of whether we know that split second we're going to die or not.

Immediately following her death, our first scene would be her arriving with those old people at the airport. See? They've brought her over and are sending her off to her afterlife. One could think of the airport as a lobby for limbo, as I associated with the Red Rooms in MD and TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME.

In clarifying the near-death-experience thought, I'd like to first say that MULHOLLAND DR. -IS- a movie, for the most part, and any movie may be granted some liberities in representing reality, fantasy, life, death, making a sandwich... it's all what we make of it. =)

THAT SAID... Yes, Diane is alive (running to the bedroom) but she IS about to die (near-death). In terms of film -where liberties are surely granted- dramatic premise might have these "things" coming for Diane in her final seconds of life, whether she's absolutely sure she's about to die or not. I think she's already decided to kill herself. It's partially metaphoric to the fact that's she's lost her mind, has -most likely- been contemplating suicide and is about to stain her bed with brains.

Remember those creepy black things that came for the "bad people" in GHOST? I think those Old People are a lot like them. In GHOST, they appeared IN death. In granting MULHOLLAND DR. some leeway, consider the idea that, chronologically, the Old People chasing Diane would directly precede her arriving in Hollywood, "amidst an eerie white glow." -And her splattering herself in bed lies comfortably between them.

IMO, MULHOLLAND DR. is a story told through subtleties and symbolism. I try to absorb the grander meaning of things, leaving open for conjecture various details that could represent a wide range of variables. It's the intricate details that are the most fun and everyone will, most likely, get something different out of everything.

In the end, we are all free to make up our own minds.

But, don?t spirits usually greet us?? Well, yes ? BUT Keyword - USUALLY. Not everyone has pretty stories to tell of crossing over & coming back. Not everyone speaks of smiling faces & shining family. Some people encounter AWFUL things... I think Diane is one of those people who, while recreating an ideal situation for herself in the afterlife, was not a "good person" and shouldn't expect the afterlife to serve up tea & biscuits. Besides, just as our world here is diverse and full of all sorts of people, the afterlife is full of much the same thing. It takes all kinds. From what people who can speak to the dead say, ghosts roam around as freely as we do. All kinds, nice ones, nasty ones, it's a real melting pot. Some pretty nasty ones showed up at Diane's doorstep, IMO. =)

I don't think those old people actually "caused" Diane to shoot herself. Considering the Old People represent something "coming for" her soul, she was to shoot herself anyway, old people or not. Metaphorically, the Old People could be used to also represent a chaotic transition from life to death.

Regardless, I think those people "came for her." It's a creepy thought and works for me. It's only my opinion. =)

Another thing... when people die -or are about to die- or facing some kind of life/death psuedo-state (be it past or present or future) in Lynch movies, they're washed with that eerie blue light. It quite reminds me of the "light at the end of the tunnel" -but blue.
Pete Dayton as Fred was washed with blue light in LOST HIGHWAY, so was the younger Pete Dayton as Pete Dayton (Balthazaar Getty). This was more a transitional thing, but Pete/Fred is killed in the end.
Laura Palmer ate the blue light in TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME.
It reminds me of the other side showing itself and pointing its finger at the newcomer. In Diane's suicide scene, the blue light starts slowly, mostly a flicker, and grows with the old people?s laughter till it strobes after Diane, into her bedroom. If that blue light is a "portal" into the afterlife, it is gradual and SMALL as the old people were gradual and SMALL coming into her house. When the old people erupt, so does the blue light.

I consider that blue light the ?tunnel of light? people describe in death. Thing is, Lynch likes his death light blue ? not white. It?s an artistic thing ? but a lot of us have our own ideas of the afterlife. Perhaps Lynch sees blue in his afterlife. I see lots of lavender, whites, opal? go figure.

If one wants to opt for the dream theory, that's fine. As long as one enjoyed the movie. As long as the experience of MULHOLLAND DR. got one thinking, that's all that matters. One can easily suggest the pillow and heavy breathing in the beginning signify someone lying down for bed. However, I think that slow pan across the pillows, into the pillow on the right - (facing the bed, on the right (rightside nightstand) is where Diane gets the gun) - is similar to the path she takes across the bed to get the gun in her suicide scene. The pillow scene is slower than the frantic suicide scene (and minus the screaming). However, the intricacies of how Diane ends up in bed can be taken however someone wants. Thing is, both scenes show something definite. Diane ends up in bed.

In the pillow scene, there's some diffused light highlighting the pillow. In the suicide scene, there the same kind of diffused light coming into the window from a street light (or yard light) outside. It's the same place, the same bed -but can be the same scene, only played differently for dramatic purposes within the film.

All in all, it's meant to be confusing. =)

Someone also brought up the idea that Detective Domgaard (when the cops are investigating the accident) held up the blue key in his evidence bag.

Camilla's left pearl earring is in the bag Detective Domgaard is holding, not the blue key. What one may have thought was the blue key is the ziploc on the bag -it's blue.
Here's the scene:

Domgaard produces the plastic bag from his pocket.

Domgaard: "The boys found this on the floor in the back of the caddy."

McKnight: "Yeah. You showed me."

He stuffs the bag in his pocket.

Domgaard: "Could be unrelated."

McKinght: "Could be. Any of those dead kids wearing pearl earrings?"

Domgaard: "No. Could be someone's missing, maybe."

McKnight: "That's what I'm thinking."


After the accident, when Camilla crosses Franklin Ave., a car passes her, washing her in its headlights. We see her left ear bloody. She's missing a pearl earring. The other dangles from her right ear. Before the accident, she's wearing both earrings (in the limo). After, she's missing one.

The bag is hard to see but I noticed the blue ziploc. The lighting makes it difficult to see the earring in the bag but it's there.
Also, before someone notices that Domgaard says "caddy" and not "limo" ... limousines also come in Cadillac brand. =)

In another thought? After the audition scene, Betty's taken to meet Adam. They announce in the scene that the set is "The Sylvia North Story." Adam is directing. In life, Diane said she met Camilla on the set of The Sylvia North Story. In death, only thing was Camilla was that blondie (Melissa George). Adam is the director, not Bob Booker (like the guy sitting next to Diane at the dinner party said, in life). This setup could be Diane's recreation of first meeting Camilla, only faces have shifted. She arrives as an "actress," not just for auditioning.

Adam DID direct Camilla at some point, though. We see this in the scene with Adam & Camilla necking in a car on-set.

I also enjoyed the idea that Diane and her neighbor might have been lovers. Imagine that Diane left her neighbor to philander with Camilla, only to be dumped by Camilla, hence dumped by both. The neighbor looking Camilla (Rita) up & down with a sneer could indicate Diane?s retention of her neighbor?s dislike for Camilla in real life. I?m sure they fought a great deal over something as serious as Diane meddling with a showbiz floozie. Switching apartments to avoid the police was of little help. Diane?s neighbor was gathering things from the bungalow. Diane remembered this from real life and it transcended to her afterlife.

Concerning Naomi Watts... Naomi Watts exherts pure glamour. Did you see her at the Golden Globes? She's absolutely radiant. What got me most of Watts' role was the actual subject matter. Considering MY view of the film (as an afterlife experience, not a dream) I just get this gut wrenching feeling... I feel so bad for her character. Let's just say I enjoy the sentiment. =)

Watts' role covers lots of terrain & a variety of emotions. One of my favourite angles to her character is the fact that the more Camilla pushes her away, the more her love - which I'm sure was some species of love in the beginning - becomes vengeful obsession. Piper Perabo's character did the same thing in LOST & DELERIOUS. Check it out if you haven't, it's a fabulous film. And, since MD is disjointed, we're forced to recall the minute details of Watts' performance long afterwards to piece them together when it's all said & done. The fact that MD is not a linear film adds a lot of weight to Watts' role because it takes more thought & time to understand her character (and the film, in general).

All in all, MULHOLLAND DR. & Naomi Watts insist we spend more time with them than we normally would any other film. (All thanks to The Good Lord Lynch, by the way.) In the time we spend watching and re-watching MD, it's obvious Watts' talent & good looks grow like wild mushrooms on us. Another thing is the fact that she plays a real **** of a person - yet we care about her anyway, (much like everything Thornton did this year.)

One last thing I'd like to point out, concerning dreams vs. the afterlife is, again, of Lynch's accepted films, matters of the spirit chained to reality are the true stars:

TWIN PEAKS = The Red Room, The Arm, The Garmonbozia, all tangible entities within the spiritual world. No dreams here.

LOST HIGHWAY = The Mystery Man AND the illusion of a double identity fades when we learn these are the same people and, in reality, Fred only ran from himself and, in despair, ruined his OWN life. No dreams here.

ERASERHEAD = A man's unwillingness to accept his own death surfaces as the birth of a malformed child. Ever wonder why The Radiator Girl sings "EVERYTHING IS FINE IN HEAVEN."...? Eraserhead is dead, that's why. (Quite like MULHOLLAND DR.)

BLUE VELVET = heh. No dreams there. An ear & Dennis Hopper sucking an oxygen mask screaming MOMMY but no dreams. =)

DUNE = Maudib dreams things before they happen and it bombed. Regardless, this was NOT from Lynch's imagination but based on Frank Herbert's amazing books. See, Lynch doesn't tackle dreams himself, he deals with death, the afterlife and brazen spirituality. My kinda guy. =)

In un-Lynchian related speculation, a fine film called IN DREAMS went straight into the gutter - and guess what the big deal about that film was? ...DREAMS...

I'm hard pressed to think of a movie dealing with dreams that enjoyed widespread acclaim besides THE WIZARD OF OZ and ALICE IN WONDERLAND...

I would also like to draw your attention to THE ARM (Man from another place) & THE RED ROOM from TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. Now, think of MR. ROQUE & THE STUDIO in MULHOLLAND DR. Both THE ARM and MR. ROQUE are played by the always-creepy Michael Anderson and both characters are set in these "red rooms."

In TWIN PEAKS, Anderson and The Red Room signified a lobby for limbo, so to speak. Here is the place the dead pass through, on their way to Heaven or Hell. In MULHOLLAND DR., Diane's afterlife has a Red Room of its own, the place where Mr. Roque lives. Diane, in death, has arrived and must overcome an obstacle she brought with herself -Adam, (not entirely him, per se, but the control & heirarchy of Hollywood he represents). The obstacle was overcome by stripping Adam of his power. In death, Diane wins.

As an obstacle in TWIN PEAKS, Laura Palmer brings her father to The Red Room. Through Bob, (the image of her father she experienced when he'd rape her), and The Arm (Anderson), the obstacle is overcome when Bob sucks the "Garmonbozia (pain & sorrow) out of Leland Palmer. In death, Laura Palmer wins.

In looking at both of these films and analyzing their similarities, one can easily see how dreams are not a factor.

Anyway, of David Lynch's more ethereal movies, we come to notice a greater acceptance of his subject matter. People are tired of dreams. But, when matters of the spirit arise, everyone (especially in this day & age), perk their ears & eyes. Why? Work like that SPEAKS to the soul. People GET that, whether they realize it or not. We all have a spirit. Exploring the spiritual world in art (in film) helps us all to explore our own spiritual selves.

David Lynch's films speak to us louder & deeper than our ears alone can hear.

David Lynch's films have spoken to me on an ethereal level for many years. There's this thing called resonance. Lynch's films resonate with me; they possess an unseen quality that needs to be felt to be understood.

People who may not be entirely in tune with the Spiritual (not RELIGIOUS, mind you, SPIRITUAL) side of themselves may interpret MULHOLLAND DR. as a dream.

For people like me, MULHOLLAND DR. rang true at every turn. The soul knows the truth. I really wish more people would have realized it the way I, and others like me, did.

I got it. That's enough for me.

Good Wishes,

Alfred Romo


What do you think of this one??

I think it's very, very good.
Apr 11, 2002 12:57 AM
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what do think of this theory?

I think it's very "logic" if one can say this about anything in this movie.

I've read so many interpretations on this movie that it's quite amazing.

Mulholland Drive is probably the best movie I've ever seen.
Apr 11, 2002 4:46 AM
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This is crap. This reviewer claims he sees ghosts. sorry, but the lost his creibility right there. Plus, his logic is circular and often conclusory.
Apr 11, 2002 10:27 AM
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Alfred Romo posted this on a thread a few months back. It's an interesting theory but there is just WAY too much evidence for the first part (the first 2 hours) being a dream. In the last 30 minutes of the movie we see Diane before and after she wakes up in the least I (and most other people) believe that. Also near the beginning when the camera moves into the pillow is Diane going to sleep. When she killed herself there was screaming and a loud gunshot. When the camera moved into the pillow there was slow heavy breathing as if Diane was tired and "just needed sleep, sleep will fix everything" (just as Rita said in the dream).

Interesting theory but ultimately way too much of a stretch. I could just as well say the first part is reality and the last part is the dream and come up with evidence for it. You can twist the evidence to mean anything you want (he's obviously interested in the afterlife hence wants MD to deal with that) The dream theory just makes too much sense for me to accept any other theory.
Apr 11, 2002 10:46 AM
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WOW...what an analysis. Yes I'm buying it and also other analysises I've read over the past few months. No one is right or wrong.. and that's what makes MD one of the greatest films ever made.

I never believed in ghosts before. But one night, my ex-partner and I sat watching television with his mother in her home. It was a very old house and an old man died falling down the stairs in that house. And also the house was built over an ancient Native American cemetery (in upstate New York in case you wonder). There is something weird going on that particular piece of land - it's now a park with houses surrounding it. Two summers ago, a young man hung himself on a gigantic oak tree in front of the house. Anyway, back on that night watching television, the room was fully lit and all of sudden, there was something bluish-white floating was in a shape of an old bald man .. floating by with no feets. It happened for around 5 seconds. I turned to my partner and he did the same thing. I asked him if he saw what I had just seen. He said the same thing... and we described the "ghost" exactly the same. For the last 20 years, my partner's mom claimed to be haunted by an old man and her adult children blamed it on her medications. She went to bed nightly with her Bible on her chest. But now I believe her. She just moved to Florida and I remember her telling me that she was worried about the old man following her. So you can see why I'm buying the after-life/ghost intepretation.
Apr 11, 2002 11:31 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by blueman
So you can see why I'm buying the after-life/ghost intepretation. [/QUOTE]

But just b/c you've had experience with ghosts doesn't make the "after-life" explanation any more valid. While many/most of the details in the movie are very disputable, any theory other than the dream theory just doesn't hold up when you watch the movie multiple times. It's definitely interesting to discuss but there's too many holes for it to stand on it's own. The theory that first 2 hours are Diane's dream and the last 30 minutes is a mixture of daydreams and reality leaves no such holes.

The tagline of MD: "A love story in the City of Dreams."
Apr 11, 2002 11:39 AM
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This guy is certainly entitled to his opinion as we all are. I think you will find under closer scrutiny that his interpetation is full of gaping holes. I feel his years of study on the afterlife prejudiced his opinion toward that explanation and is not logical and not supported by the facts. His logic relys on David Lynch being just as studied on the afterlife and dreams as he himself is. This is not reality, it is a film and the only dream logic or afterlife logic that applies is that which Lynch knows and that part of what he knows that he feels work with his story idea. This synopsis does contain many small details that are logical and I believe to be true but they all work with the dream explanation also. All things in the film can be explained to coincide with the dream. Lynch's past history with dreams has nothing to do with this film. In fact the history surrounding this film (an open ended story already filmed that had to be added to and changed) meant that he had to work differently than he has ever worked before.

The largest glaring loopholes in this (afterlife) theme are in the bedroom scenes.

When Diane kills herself she is wearing the tacky robe and laying across the bed with her head at the right edge of the bed and the gun still in her mouth, her face is pointed toward the foot of the bed. There are two pillows on the bed.

When Rita and Betty see the corpse there is just one pillow. The body is lengthwise on the bed with her face pointing to the right. There is no gun, she is wearing a black slip/nightgown.

If this event (suicide) had already happened at this point the details would be exactly as they were when it happened. Or at least very close (would have to include at least the gun). Coincidently (or not) the body is lying in the exact position as Diane is in when she is sleeping. If someone were to dream of a future possible death this would lack specific details.

In the beginning when the camera pans to the bed it is facing down to the floor comes up to the bed, goes back to the floor and eventually goes across the sheet to the pillow and the lens goes into the pillow completely cutting off the light. This is Diane putting her face into the pillow going to sleep. During the suicide Diane is looking back to those tormenting her and looking forward to the bed and across the bed not down. She never puts her head in the pillow.

Diane is not awakened by the Cowboy. This scene is still part of the dream. Diane is awakened by DeRosa knocking at the door.

Some other small holes in his theory;

In the dream (afterlife to him) Rita/Camilla did not love Diane/Betty.

Bob Brooker did not like Betty's performance at the audition.

The direction the Cowboy walked thru the party was into the house not out.

I could go on but I have a short post reputation to keep up.

I am not trying to be overly critical of this theory but I feel his extensive dismissal of the dream needed to be answered.
Apr 11, 2002 11:48 AM
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Now after reading the "after-life" analysis for the fourth time, yeah there are holes ... this is not the most complete/accurate interpretation as the heading of this thread says so. Just my opinion. I happened to like some of the "after-life" arguments but it's still a good (not fully satisfying) analysis. I still could buy the "dream" interpretation. I'm wondering if there is a fully through-out and satisfying analysis of MD out there ...

PS..I like the part about the pearl earring. I totally missed that while viewing MD. Now that gives a special meaning to the blue-haired lady's pearl earring which beautifully sparkles in the final scene. Do you make of the blue-haired lady? What does she stand for in MD? Does she serve the same purpose as the Man Looking Out of the Window in ERASERHEAD?
Apr 11, 2002 12:04 PM
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There are many interesting views here.
What it boils down to I guess is that everyone can make up their own mind of what's going on - as Lynch has said in interviews.

One thing's for sure - I've never seen a movie which had made me think and wonder so much before. Not even Lost Highway.
Apr 11, 2002 12:12 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by blueman
I still could buy the "dream" interpretation.[/QUOTE]

Other than this "after-life" theory there is no theory out there other than the "dream theory". It's obvious the first part is either a dream or something to do with the afterlife. Every poster in the MD Forum agrees that the first part is a dream. It's really the only OBVIOUS thing Lynch put in the film. There are many other theories and details that we all have arguments (or rather disagreements;)) about. But the fact that MD deals with dreams isn't even talked about much b/c it's just accepted. If you don't believe the first part is a dream or afterlife, what do you think it was? I'm just interested to see what you think since other than Alfred Romo you're the only one whose unsure about the dream theory.
Apr 11, 2002 12:14 PM
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"What it boils down to I guess is that everyone can make up their own mind of what's going on - as Lynch has said in interviews."

Nope. Ok, they "can." But they will be wrong. A theory should be based on evidence. Not only is a good deal of his evidence irrelevant and based on hearsay (why do I care what he read about ghosts or his experience with them?), but his evidence is incomplete. I should not say, "Well, I just got mugged, therefore this movie is about being mugged and losing money and those that you love (because I have no money after the mugging )."
Apr 11, 2002 12:26 PM
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Actually...the first thought that came to my mind after viewing MD the first time 5 months ago was that Betty/Diane was a schizophrenic. The film has a schizophrenic feeling to it.. everything is so split up. But now looking back on that thought, I thought it sounded lame even though I was soo overwhelmed the minute I left the screening. The friend I went to see MD with said it was a dream. I didn't get that impression. It was more like the "other dimension" kind of thing to me. Betty/Diane being a schizophrenic (probably triggered from being crushed by Hollywood and her disasterous love affair, etc)is trapped between two dimensions.. no way out.. she was all alone in Hollywood.. family too far away in Canada. She was crying for help and no one came ... off to bed and died. I'm sorry I couldn't produce a more throughout analysis.. I need to sit through MD again.. just got the DVD this morning. My other friend felt that the first half of MD was so conventional (even for a David Lynch film)...I remember being surprised during the first half of MD - how "normal" it really was.. along with some funny scenes, etc. But then after the blue box opened, I was totally thrown out. My friend thought that Lynch set us up with a normal-seeming Hollywood-formula based mystery (to fool us..thinking that Betty would help us to solve the mystery)...then totally threw us out by putting us in Betty/Diane's shoes, turning ourselves into a detective, trying to solve the mystery for Betty on our own. It's possibly a brilliant display of Lynch's love & hate relationship with Hollywood
Apr 11, 2002 12:30 PM
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I'm jealous. You said it in a shorter post than I could.
Apr 11, 2002 12:32 PM
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Okay apologies to Fantomas if I am wrong... but this is kinda creepy. When I read some of Fantomas' recent post here, I was thinking he sounds like Alfred, and when he started this thread before I even stroll down to see who it was... I was thinking he's going to post Alfred's afterlife theory... and low and behold, there it was... "There it was allright." Freaky or psychic... sometimes I do get these things right.
Apr 11, 2002 1:10 PM
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"Sometimes he's wrong. But if there is trouble in there, get rid of it!"
Apr 11, 2002 1:23 PM
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i don't think there is any right or wrong theory on MD. only the truth, which Mr. L has chosen to keep to himself right now. until that mystery is revealed those honest with themselves will accept that the various theories are just opinions, and/or Mr. L's instructions to just make the movie (and it's "meanings") your own.
Apr 11, 2002 1:38 PM
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Yup lazerlover

Sometimes I feel he's playing a game with all of us...kinda sick or brilliant or both.
Apr 11, 2002 1:43 PM
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Are you saying we should all just go home? (no that won't work I'm already there)

We are just expressing our opinions. Some opinions may be closer to the truth than others. Your opinion that all opinions are equal and none are truth or partly truth is hardly plauseable. Some of us know that Betty traveled to earth from Ork in the blue box and returned that fateful night.
Apr 11, 2002 1:59 PM
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I think this movie is good, but overrated. Memento is far more original and superior. Don get me wrong, I like this movie alot but it has no true ending. Meaning no one knows which theories are the truest for sure
Apr 11, 2002 2:04 PM
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I need to see it several times obviously, I've only watched it twice.

BTW, I know it's nothing to do with MD, but can anyone tell me if the shorts DVD from is worth buying?
I've never seen the shorts before.

do you recommend it?
(quite expensive though...)
Apr 11, 2002 2:27 PM
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