Lost Highway 1997

Lost Highway

Critics Consensus

Marking a further escalation in David Lynch's surrealist style, Lost Highway is a foreboding mystery that arguably leads to a dead end, although it is signposted throughout with some of the director's most haunting images yet.

61%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 44

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 57,868

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Movie Info

From this inventory of imagery, Lynch fashions two separate but intersecting stories, one about a jazz musician (Bill Pullman), tortured by the notion that his wife is having an affair, who suddenly finds himself accused of her murder. The other is a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend. These two tales are linked by the fact that the women in both are played by the same actress (Patricia Arquette).

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Critic Reviews for Lost Highway

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (17)

Audience Reviews for Lost Highway

  • Aug 16, 2016
    "l like to remember things my own way" Whenever you approach a David Lynch film, you really have to be prepared for a surrealistic, mind-boggling challenge. His films rarely come as an easy pass to answers or entertainment and can even frustrate to the point of absolute bewilderment. Lost Highway is no different and ranks alongside Inland Empire as, probably, Lynch's most difficult film to date. Jazz saxophonist Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) awakes one morning to find a video tape lying on his doorstep. He and his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) watch the tape only to find that someone has been filming the inside of their house. The tapes appear with increasing regularity, each time revealing more and more footage. This only adds to Fred's suspicions of his wife and her friendships outwith their marriage. Not before long Fred is drawn into a labyrinthine plot with a Mystery Man (Robert Blake), ferocious gangster Mr. Eddy (Robert Loggia), pornography, murder and teenage mechanic Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) who may, or may not, be involved. Working on the script alongside his Wild At Heart author Barry Gifford, Lynch crafts an experience that truly is a hallucinatory nightmare and one of the most effective horrors I've ever seen. It's a great combination of noir and horror with shady characters, femme fatales and downright freakish oddities and there's an ambience that's classic Lynch with his very unsettling and minimalist approach. The man can craft sinister from absolutely nothing; bare lamps, shadows and vacant spaces speak volumes and he's aided considerably by - regular collaborators - Angelo Badalamenti's foreboding score and Peter Deming's hugely effective cinematography (which was supposedly shot in one of Lynch's own L.A. homes). Some critics have been harsh on Lost Highway, claiming that it's self-indulgent and lacks depth but it's one of those films where you really have to pay attention. Even the minutest detail can be so important to unraveling the mystery. It's a film of two halves and the trick is in trying to piece the two to make a complete whole. The first half of the film is fairly linear but in the second, a metamorphosis takes place that really is a bizarre and confounding plot twist. From that moment on, nothing is as it seems and it just gets weirder and weirder. Only Lynch can get away with this kind of mind fuck. And get away with it he does. It's a hugely involving and complex piece of work. So much so, that you actually question whether you're intelligent enough to understand it at all. Is there a point? Who knows for sure. I have my theories as I'm sure many others do but the beauty in this film is that it's a transcendental piece of art. Does there need to be a point or is it like all other great art, whereby you interpret the voids for yourself. The voids where the artist isn't readily giving you clarity. How it affects each viewer will, no doubt, be different and unique and there's not many filmmaker's or artists out there can still achieve such an impact. If you're reading this review, looking for definitive answers, then you're looking in the wrong place. If I did offer my answers to the conundrum, it would only rob you of your own experience. And anyway, like all great works of art, you already have the answers. The answers that make sense to you. They're not mine, they're not anybody else's, they're yours. And that's what I love about this filmmaker. There's no-one quite like David Lynch and his idiosyncratic genius. One things for sure, it explores the themes of sexual insecurity and paranoia but when it operates on a metaphysical level that's when things get very challenging. You could view it from a schizophrenic angle, it could be an alternate reality, an underworld purgatory or you could be trying to interpret dream hallucinations and suppressed memories. It could be many things and although I have settled on a particular meaning, my reasoning could be entirely different to another's. Put simply, it's open to interpretation and will depend on each and every individual viewer and what they bring to the experience themselves. You just have to open yourself up and embrace it. And therein lies the art. You could argue that this is Lynch's most cerebrally nihilistic film to date and a variation on the same themes explored in Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Like those films, I have seen it many times and each time I manage to decipher another piece of the puzzle. For years, I couldn't make heads nor tales of it but I now have a better grasp on what (I think) it's all about. However, trying to work it out is not in the slightest bit easy. All I know, is that I love the experience each and every time and sometimes I even question why. Mark Walker
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 04, 2015
    I've always enjoyed films that make the viewers think and sometimes create their own interpretations for the plot and ending. Lost highway is one of those films and that is what makes it great. The mystery elements and directing style are just so intriguing and curious that you have to like that aspect of this film. The plot is written unlike anything I've seen before. Anything that is creative makes me respect it and have fun watching it. Also the cast and performances are nothing short of great.
    Ian I Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2015
    Ironically, Lost Highway is not as good as I remember it. It has a great opening for a noir/horror thriller. It may have made a good 90 minute or 105 minute film but over two hours is far too long and the 90s soundtrack feels dated. Lost Highway is not a bad film but is definitely a notch below the other Lynch films I have viewed recently (Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart).
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2015
    Lynch's most morally hopeless and frightening film to date, besides Inland Empire. Lost Highway is a captivating and genuinely fascinating piece of art, something to marvel at. It is something to stir and inspire....but to enjoy, I'm not too sure. I found Lost Highway to be really hard to enjoy, because there's something about it that is so uninvolving and frigid that it just doesn't seem to have the heart of Mulholland Drive or the passion of Blue Velvet or even the depth of Eraserhead. The characters are so cold, particularly Partricia Arquette, that you barely have any chance to even try to like them before they've transisitioned into completely new people, similar to in Mulholland. The story is very dark and noirish, but just doesn't really resonate anything within me. It's a horror film before anything, and fans of surrealism will enjoy for sure.
    Harry W Super Reviewer

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