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On MULHOLLAND DRIVE and David Lynch’s Power to Manipulate

David Lynch is one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time, in his own way of the same stature as iconic directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. And he earned these accolades without even a fraction of the commercial success of the gentlemen I just mentioned, and probably with less than half as many films to his name as they have. His brand of surrealism and darkness, mixed with wholesome 1950’s nostalgia and quirky humor, is uniquely his own and no one else’s–when someone says something is “Lynchian”, you know exactly what they mean by that…even if you’ve never seen a David Lynch film in your life. That’s when you know you’ve entered into “legendary artist” status.

Now a YouTube user by the name of Nerdwriter1 has posted a nine-minute video called Mulholland Drive: How Lynch Manipulates You, which uses Lynch’s 2001 masterpiece to illustrate, beat by beat, just how a master like David Lynch is able to do what he does so very well. Specifically, how he plays with our expectations as viewers, based on a lifetime of consuming film and film cliches, and uses that as a tool to manipulate us into thinking we’re viewing one kind of story, only to up-end those expectations by the end. The video focuses on Naomi Watts’ audition scene from the movie in particular, which is a perfect example of Lynch’s skill in this area. You can (and should) watch the entire thing above.

Mulholland Drive is quintessential Lynch of course, and arguably his greatest film, and best example of all of his strengths as a filmmaker. It plays with the same themes he’s dealt with for decades in his films — duality, mystery, a beautiful woman in terrible trouble — but he constantly finds a new angle with which to approach it, and new ways to subvert the expectations of the viewer. It’s for this reason that Mulholland Drive is the best example to illustrate Lynch’s particular brand of genius.

What do you think of the work of David Lynch, and Mulholland Drive in particular? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

                                                                                                                                                                   Image: Universal Pictures

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