Friday 8/18 at 8:30pm and Saturday 8/19 at 8:30pm, part of the Northwest Film Center's David Lynch: A Retrospective
While many of Lynch’s films work with the tropes and atmospheres of film noir, few are so directly in the noir lineage as Lost Highway, which Lynch has described as his “21st Century neo-noir.” In Los Angeles, working musician Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) suspects his wife Renée (Patricia Arquette) has been unfaithful. Mysterious VHS tapes arrive at the couple’s home, featuring footage of the home from both inside and out, culminating in a tape that appears to show a murdered Renée at Fred’s feet. This sets into motion a thickly atmospheric man-against-justice (and logic) narrative, with Lynch’s typically screwball characters coming out of the woodwork while Fred appears doomed to insanity or death. Initially a mild flop, Lost Highway has come to be appreciated as key to Lynch’s filmography, “a defiantly oneiric work, albeit one that attempts to reconcile these abstractions with the legacy of the most idiosyncratic of noir, actively referencing oddities like Kiss Me Deadly and Angel Face to comprise its decidedly singular tone. The digital noise that finds its way into both the soundtrack and the many instances of video-watching threatens to envelop you, to enhance your guilt and devour your consciousness until all there is is the sparsely illuminated highway, leading you down an irreversible path of depravity.”—Eric Barroso, Brooklyn Magazine. “The film deals with time; it starts at one place and moves forward or backwards, or stands still, relatively speaking. But, time marches on and films compact time, or prolong time in different ways. Lost Highway is not really a film about dreams. The film is a product of two years of work, and it has to be a certain way. It took a long time to be correct. It’s a depressing thought to even try to put that into a sentence.”—David Lynch.