Lost Highway


Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Lost Highway, David Lynch's first movie in five years, is a virtuoso symphony of bad vibes.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 87 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. Mar 31, 2014
    52? Seriously? This movie is absolutely brilliant. If you're someone who enjoys being fed meaning then it's simply not for you. Those prepared52? Seriously? This movie is absolutely brilliant. If you're someone who enjoys being fed meaning then it's simply not for you. Those prepared to feel their own way and drop the barriers between dream and "reality" will find an intangible joy in unusual and familiar dark places. When I first watched Mulholland Drive I felt cheated, disturbed and confused. I've since learned to give in to the confusion and explore all the gaps between my stupid expectations. I find it rather offensive that Mulholland Drive has such a high rating in comparison to Lost Highway and can only assume that it's due to the nudity and lesbian scenes. I really hope that isn't true. David Lynch uses sex as a vehicle for something far more erotic and devastatingly honest. His movies leave me twisting for truth and dreaming within dreams that turn on themselves and walk their way "back" into life. I will always have a sincere love and respect for the artist that showed me what I want by failing to deliver what I learned to need. Thank you for denying me this and granting me so much more. Full Review »
  2. Apr 6, 2016
    One of the hallmarks of a David Lynch film is the element of surprise -- the sense of not knowing what will happen next and the queasy dreadOne of the hallmarks of a David Lynch film is the element of surprise -- the sense of not knowing what will happen next and the queasy dread that what you're about to see could disturb and haunt you and linger in your head for a long time.

    Lynch established that agenda in "Eraserhead," his first feature- length film, and he hasn't abandoned it to a futile quest for mainstream acceptance.

    It's impossible to imagine Lynch making a conventional film with "normal" people and "normal" entertainment values -- a fact that binds his fans to him but alienates many critics and moviegoers.
    In "Lost Highway," which opens today at Bay Area theaters, Lynch continues his exploration of the unknown and delivers a dreamlike meditation on reality, identity and paranoia. Set in a bland city that resembles Los Angeles, "Lost Highway" stars Bill Pullman, fresh from play ing the enthusiastic president in "Independence Day," as Fred Madison, a spooked saxophonist who finds himself terrorized by a man who enters his house when he's asleep and videotapes him and his girlfriend Renee (Patricia Arquette) as they sleep.

    At a party, he meets a smirking trickster, played in ghostly white makeup by Robert Blake, who declares himself the culprit. Blake invites Pullman to dial his own phone number and to listen as Blake, who's standing before him, "answers" at the other end of the line.

    That's just a taste of what Lynch and co-writer Barry Gifford, whose novel "Wild at Heart" inspired Lynch's 1990 film of the same name, have to offer.

    There's also a murder; a fire; a personality transformation involving an auto mechanic (Balthazar Getty); a gangster's moll, also played by Arquette, who cons Getty into committing a crime; a memory lapse by Getty; a reappearance by Pullman; and a series of bizarre foreshadowings and precognitive images that may or may not pro vide clues to the mystery of "Lost Highway."

    The result is a world, part film noir, part apocalyptic acid nightmare and pure Lynch, in which nothing can be trusted or relied upon -- least of all our psychic well-being.

    It's a weird movie, in that spooky/sicko, deadpan way that Lynch's movies always are, and it's guaranteed to repel anyone who likes entertainment wrapped in tidy resolutions and optimistic fade- outs.

    The visuals, Angelo Badalamenti's music and Lynch's sound design -- his perennial sound designer, Berkeley's Alan Splet, died in 1994 -- are all effective, and the comic bits, specifically Robert Loggia's scene as a mobster berating a tailgating motorist, are all effective.

    Filmmakers such as Lynch deserve our admiration for creating new cinematic idioms and exploring new ground. At the same time, "Lost Highway" often feels like a stunt -- like an arcane, deliberately perverse game that Lynch knew would never make sense. It's also feels, with its similarities to "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me," "Blue Velvet" and "Wild at Heart," like overly familiar territory. Lynch's great wish is to shock and arouse us, but in using the same kind of music, camera effects and offbeat editing rhythms over and over, his work is beginning to look like variations on a single theme.

    Arquette, whose low-in-affect style is perfectly matched to Lynch's, gives the strongest, most memorable performance -- and brings to mind Kim Novak's similar dual roles in "Vertigo."

    There is also a cameo by Richard Pryor, along with appearances by Gary Busey, rock star Henry Rollins and Natasha Gregson Wagner, daughter of the late Natalie Wood.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 19, 2016
    I've been hankering to see this one again. I think it might be better even, overall, than Blue Velvet, though the latter is undeniably moreI've been hankering to see this one again. I think it might be better even, overall, than Blue Velvet, though the latter is undeniably more straightforward. I guess I understand why the "dream" comparisons seem to be frequently invoked when talking about Lynch and "Lost Highway," but if you know anything about Lynch's methods he doesn't particularly lean toward dreams or dream imagery. Rather, as I understand it, he just gets these ideas in his mind and he doesn't censor himself, so the starting material is different because he's never coming from the too typical place of just trying to come up with a movie premise that people might like. And then, when he starts putting his ideas together, he doesn't allow conventions and commercial concerns lead him astray, he stays true to his vision and he is one of the few who can get away with that.

    This film was the first to deal with the idea of a transmigration of identity, something Lynch may or may not have picked up from a 19th Century craze, I don't know. He continued working with this idea in Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire, though to me those two were less successful than Lost Highway, which is why I'm writing this. I hope more people can find out about Lost Highway and enjoy it as much as I have.

    So, to appreciate this film I recommend not getting too caught up in understanding it. It's a harsh critique of Hollywood, for one thing. The humor is about as deadpan as you can get. The violence is not pervasive but is at times strong. I don't find it gratuitous at all, though. Many people get their attentions taken with the sense of dread that is certainly there, but I now see more of the humor and style. Lynch is, above all, the most stylish of all contemporary American directors, I think without even a close rival. Also, he may be the sexiest. His sex scenes just sizzle and pop, think about the seduction scene in Blue Velvet or the lovemaking sessions between Cage and Dern in Wild at Heart. This film is no exception, Patricia Arquette smolders and her love connection with the young hero feels real and alive.

    The word "pretentious" some have used here puzzles me. Lynch may be Hollywood's least pretentious director! He's very true to his own vision and doesn't try to intellectualize. I don't get that criticism. Also, too much emphasis on "understanding" it. Look, it's kind of simple: there is a sort of identity migration. It's a mystical concept, no scientific basis for it, so you kind of have to go with it. It deals with evil in a way that may seem needlessly oblique to some but in return for a little patience and open-mindedness you get to see Robert Blake, in white pancake makeup, being Satan incarnate! I think that is worth the price of admission alone.
    Full Review »