David Lynch's Lost Highway Discussion


I've been thinking about reviewing Lost Highway, but thought it would be best to discuss the movie with others first. Why? Part of the reason is because Lynch himself has said he is more concerned with creating an artwork; something that requires interpretation. I would like to offer an interpretation of what is going on in the movie, and have people jump in and critique what I have said and offer their own interpretation of the movie. The only real helpful advice I have read by David Lynch in regard to interpreting this film is the advice to take the movie as it is, "not to over analyze it." So with that in mind I will only try to describe what is going on in the film and not offer an interpretation as to what it means. In my humble opinion it could very well not mean anything in particular. If you believe that the only criteria for interpreting a film is to discover the intention of the author, I think you doomed to eternal frustration with this work. I think the point was to create an artwork that raises enough questions to draw you into the mystery of the film. The mystery is not "who dun it", but rather "what is happening in this film". The film itself is a mystery. It's like the old Bob Dylan Song, "Ballad of a thin Man" that says,
There's something happening
but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones.
By doing this I am totally opening myself to a lot of potential criticism, but please criticize my ideas, not me. My interpretation next post. One last point. In my opinion, this movie requires multiple viewings. I think this is the problem with traditional reviewers like Ebert, who did watch the film more than once, but concluded it was indecipherable. I know discussion on this topic will be limited because Lynch does not appeal to a lot of people, but I think if you take the time to watch this movie a couple times you might actually enjoy taking a stab at figuring it out. Either way the next post is nothing but spoilers so watch it at least once before you read any further.

It's probably my favourite Lynch, although sometimes I feel like it might be Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. It's one of my favourite films, period. I'll wait for you to post what you want, but I've wrote quite a bit about the film elsewhere on the forum that I'll try and find and copy over to here that is hopefully interesting.

It's probably my favourite Lynch, although sometimes I feel like it might be Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. It's one of my favourite films, period. I'll wait for you to post what you want, but I've wrote quite a bit about the film elsewhere on the forum that I'll try and find and copy over to here that is hopefully interesting.
Yeah, i read something that Daniel wrote about it and really wanted to rewatch it. Can't remember what it was now and i didn't end up rewatching it, right now i barely remember it but i didn't like it as much as some of Lynch's others at the time. Will watch it again soon, i own it i have just neglected it compared to Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet and i still haven't watched Fire Walk With Me

Also i remember Blue Lion writing something about Lost Highway that made me reconsider it, think it may have been in his top 50 thread.

WARNING: "[spoilers="spoiler" spoilers below

The film is not linear. It is a continuous, never-ending, repeating strip. Why do I say that? Near the beginning of the movie Fred goes to the door and receives the message "Dick Laurent is dead". Unbeknownst to him it is Fred on the other side of the door delivering the message to himself" How do we know this? Because at the end of the movie we see Fred deliver the message on the other side of the door. If your asking "how this could happen" your on the right track. It cannot happen in the real world, but in a dream or a state of insanity, it would be possible. I conclude what I stated above. The whole movie is a continuous, never-ending, repeating dream. We are thrown into the middle of this loop without knowing how many times it has been repeated. I believe it has been repeated many times, and I'll offer an explanation why.
First it might be good to describe the events in the film. We know that Fred was highly suspicious of his wife. That at some point this jealousy became so great that he may have brutally murdered his wife. I believe the film implies this, and that it can make sense in light of other events. Fred is sentenced to execution and sent to prison. He is in physical confinement and there is no way to escape. What does he do? I believe he escapes the only way he can. He escapes into his mind. whether this means he loses his sanity or is in a dream I do not know. I suspect he does both. It is at this point that Fred becomes a traveler of the Lost Highway. For what purpose does he do this? To imagine a scenario where he is not guilty. What does this imply? That from the point where we enter the dream until the last shot, Fred is confined to a jail cell seeking a mental escape from his current circumstances.
From this point it becomes unclear how many times we have gone through the loop, but I believe it is more than once. One reason I believe this is that if Fred has been confined in "reality" he would be in prison for years. Why do I suspect this. Because if he was confined to prison awaiting execution he would be there for years. The ending of the film from the point where Fred delivers his message to himself and flees from the police to the point when Fred apparently goes into some convulsive state is not repeated. I believe that at this point of the film the loop has been interrupted by Fred's eventual execution. So we have a continuous loop from the beginning of the film to Fred leaving a message at the door. If this has happened more than once I believe that the events in each loop were different. I believe in each loop Fred attempts to imagine a different set of circumstances that will set him free, but that never happens so he has to imagine innumerable scenario's that never result in achieving his freedom.[More in next post]

How do I use the spoilers tag to help prevent people from spoiling the film
These are the tags just put a word in the space. The red exclamation mark is for the spoiler tags by the way so you don't need to keep copying them.

Here's a couple of the posts I wrote. Slight spoilers for Lost Highway, and some minor spoilers for Mulholland Drive perhaps.

I've now seen the film three times, the last one was on Blu-ray as my brother bought it. It's one of his favourites too. Watching it on that it was much clearer to see just how fantastic the cinematography and sound design is, Lynch has total control of the elements of sound and image. A masterpiece.

Okay. So I just watched this film, I loved it, but I will write more about it again. At the moment I was just thinking about something though. Lynch said it takes place in the same world as Twin Peaks, and with Mulholland Drive didn't he say the original script was kind of based off Audrey's character heading off to become an actress. In this film I felt he took a lot of elements from the James Hurley character with Pete, a biker, car mechanic and womaniser

Basically, Lost Highway is about:

WARNING: "Lost Highway" spoilers below
In order to hide the guilt of murdering his wife, Fred Madison dreams of becoming James Hurley

I agree with this. Mulholland Drive feels more tragic and hopeless as times, the female characters are used similarly to Laura Palmer, we have beautiful women with hopes and dreams that are being corrupted and we know they are powerless to stop the evil around them. The Silencio seen that evokes emotion is a typical Lynch device that reminds me of Julie Cruise singing "The World Spins" as we find out the killer in Twin Peaks.

I feel Lost Highway is actually, perhaps, Mullholland Drive's male counterpart. Mulholland Drive is Audrey, Lost Highway is James Hurley, the two most charismatic young souls of Twin Peaks (even if James is annoying at times).

Maybe spoilers ahead.

In Mulholland Drive the female creates a vision to hide her own guilt, and in Lost Highway a male does.

Lost Highway is about sexual paranoia, in most Lynch works he deals with sexual themes, and this one it's the main driving cause behind Fred's motivations of killing his wife. He is jealous and doesn't trust her, he is spying on her using the mysterious man figure that he has imagined up to hide this insecurity and eventually murders her and her lover. He tries to hide this and builds his own idealistic vision when he is the popular guy who is sleeping with another person's partner, the opposite situation to reality. It felt personal to me in this kind of way, and I was fascinated with Fred's character as I still am, I think it's a very powerful character study and the narrative structure is actual pretty linear and in fitting with the mind of Fred.

These are the tags just put a word in the space. The red exclamation mark is for the spoiler tags by the way so you don't need to keep copying them.
Sorry the tags didn't come up - [spoilers="spoiler"] [/SPOILERS ]

Just put a word inbetween them and don't use the space between S and ].

Just realized it wasn't appearing because i spoilered myself

I'm going to read what Daniel M has written before i continue.
I think I agree with everything you said. When I say at the end of my post that things are pretty linear, I mean that in the context of Fred's mind, we are experiencing what he is in the order he does. Yes I agree it's a loop that he plays over and over because of his guilt, and yes I think that the end means

WARNING: "Lost Highway" spoilers below
That he is electrocuted to death.

Does anybody have any thoughts about the mystery man? I think he is part of Fred's subconscious that is preventing him from escaping. He runs around with that camera. Fred has said he does not like cameras because they prevent him from remembering things they way he wants to remember them.
I also think that the mystery man in some way represents the drive that caused him to murder his wife in the first place. When he says that he is in Fred's house and that he does not go where he is not invited; I believe that he represents hate or rage that resulted from his jealousy. Interested what you guys think. i am not as confident about this interpretation as I was about the proceeding statement.