Lost Highway (1997)

lost highway poster 1997 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Still love Lynch's style and themes

Not my favorite Lynch movie

Movie Info

Movie Name: Lost Highway

Studio: CiBy 2000

Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense/Drama

Release Date(s):  January 15, 1997 (France)/February 21, 1997 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

lost highway robert blake

Did you hear the one about the guy who killed his wife…wait…I’m talking about in the movie

Musician Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) and his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) are receiving strange packages containing video tapes at their home.  On the tapes, people seem to be inside the house, and watching them in their sleep.  After a strange encounter with a mystery man (Robert Blake) at a party, Fred finds himself jailed for murder…but Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) finds himself in Fred’s place.  Pete life is also complicated.  He works at a body shop and his talents have attracted the attention of Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia).  Mr. Eddy has a girlfriend named Alice Wakefield (Patricia Arquette) who has her own plans for escape…and Pete could be caught in a web that he doesn’t understand.

Written and directed by David Lynch (with additional scripting by Barry Gifford), Lost Highway is a mystery thriller.  Following Lynch’s Twin Peaks:  Fire Walk With Me, the movie was released to mixed to negative reviews but quickly gained a cult following.

I love David Lynch movies, and I think regardless if they are good, there is something fascinating about them.  Lost Highway falls into this category.  I love some of the concepts and ideas of the film, but I don’t particularly like the movie…it does tie in well with the whole Lynch mythos.

lost highway patricia arquette stripping gun

It is like a weird “Would You” question…gun to your head…yep, let’s get stripping

Lynch has said he was inspired to write the story by the O.J. Simpson case.  Pullman’s Fred Madison finds himself wrongly accused of killing his wife, but is sucked into a weird Mobius strip of a story where the end is the beginning is the end.  Through the course of the movie, the concept of identity is explored with Pullman literally switching bodies with Balthazar Getty’s Peter Dayton and freed where he becomes part of his own doom.  A lot of the movie feels like weirdness for weirdness sakes, but unlike something like Twin Peaks or Mulholland Dr., the movie never feels as high concept as the other two projects (but it feels completely at ease in the same world).

Part of my problem with Lost Highway is that I’m not a big fan of the cast.  Bill Pullman always seemed rather generic to me and Balthazar Getty is one of those actors I kind of recognize if he is pointed out to me.  Patricia Arquette always kind of got on my nerves, but she isn’t bad here as the moll to the criminal Robert Loggia (Loggia got the part because he wanted the Dennis Hopper role in Blue Velvet).  Like many of Lynch’s works, there are a lot of smaller roles by actors including Henry Rollins, Mink Stole, Gary Busey, Giovanni Ribisi, Marilyn Manson, and Richard Pryor.  The best part of the movie has to be the odd and creepy time traveler mystery man played by Robert Blake…who you wish had more scenes.

lost highway bill pullman ending

I’m lost…on the highway…and in the story

Lynch does have a style.  The film is considered a neo-noir with a rich LA setting and dark shadows.  The setting combines with the story to create a completely Lynch like tone which goes a long way to boost up the story (which does need boosting).

Lost Highway is worth seeking out simply because it feels completely like a Lynch project and fans of the director will be able to see his trademarks within the film.  Though there are no direct ties to Lynch’s other work, you could easily see Lost Highway inhabiting the worlds of Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, or Mulholland Dr. simply because they all feature a world turned into a nightmare scenario.  Lynch’s biggest gift is the idea of the dream and the dream into reality (into nightmare), and Lost Highway continues that trend.  Lynch followed Lost Highway with The Straight Story in 1999.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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