Archive for the ‘Critics to Watch’ Category
We at Movie-Thoughts recently found a fan website for David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. that goes into painstaking detail to interpret the film and its many intricacies. If you’ve ever seen the film, or even just heard about it, you know that it’s not a film that is easy to make heads or tails of. Many who have seen the film, critics included, have been baffled by it since its release in 2001.
Surprisingly, however, a widespread inability to understand the film has not kept it from being enormously liked by critics and audiences alike. It has a rating of 82% on RottenTomatoes.com and 67 on Metacritic, with a consensus being that the movie’s visuals help captivate and intrigue despite the plot and story being “enigmatic.” Many critics have come to regard the film very highly; so much so that Film Comment magazine’s Top 100 Movies of the Decade critics poll has it ranked #1.
The website that we found, Mulholland-Drive.net, has an essay written by a man named Alan Shaw (we had no success in researching exactly who he is) that goes into extreme detail. When we started reading his essay we were absolutely floored. The explanations that Shaw posits may be hard to grasp at first, but they soon become increasingly lucid. The amount of thought he must have put into such ideas had to have exhausted him. His legwork is for our benefit, however, because no other source that we’ve been able to find has provided such interesting, thorough, and thought-provoking material (though the site offers links to other sources for analysis on the film).
Here is a snippet that gives you a sense of what the source provides:
“Throwing caution to the wind, Lynch asks us what would happen if we were not just in one head at a time? What would happen if our complex motivations and conflicted hearts were represented by a cast of personas in conflict with one another, and all struggling for control over the direction that our life will take. If you are willing to think of the main character in Mulholland Drive in this light, and envision her fantasy as a journey to determine the ultimate fate she will face after the fantasy is over, then you begin to understand the enormous trust Lynch puts in his audience. He wants us to take the journey with her, seeing her life through the eyes of multiple personas. And in so doing, Lynch wants us to learn to love her and to be angry with her, to be impressed and unimpressed, to be filled with hope and to be filled with dread. In essence, he wants us to engage her conflict with her, and to come away without any easy answers. And in the end, he wants us to learn some very heart wrenching lessons.”
For those who already love Mulholland Dr. it will enhance the fulfillment you have when watching it (unless you like not being sure of what’s going on), and for those who have been put off or disinterested because of how enigmatic the movie is Shaw’s writings will open your mind in a way that will allow you to begin to actually understand it. We could not recommend this source more highly.
If you know of a great source for in-depth thought on a film, share it with the world by telling us about it! Let us know what it is and where to find it and we’ll pass it along to all the rest of our readers. You can contact us via our Contact page, email at Clifford@Movie-Thoughts.com, or Twitter @MovieThoughts09.
While in keeping an eye on the world of film criticism, a new assessor managed to stand out. Christopher Monfette (of IGN.com) wrote a particularly well-crafted review of Where the Wild Things Are in that he was able to deftly articulate his personal observations whilst using material from the movie to explain and support his perspective. Now, such achievements ought not to be considered great. On the contrary, reaching such a level of writing should be considered merely a fulfillment in competence. However being that the number of online movie reviewers who actually display evidence of an education seems to decrease by the day, I must insist on congratulating members of this guild.
Clarity is not the only notable attribute concerning Monfette’s writing. His articulation, which is something that goes beyond simply choosing the right syntax and word choice, is able to reveal deeper elements of the film by only referring to the surface values of his citations. This allows him to avoid giving spoilers and still provide a tangible viewpoint based on clear reasoning. Having the ability to accomplish this is impressive. The thing to watch from now on, though, is if he is able to write and review at such a level consistently. To judge for yourselves on whether or not he seems capable of this I invite you to also read his review of Saw VI.
Monfette’s experience seems limited (he has only a couple dozen published reviews) and I failed to find any kind of biography, but as things stand now I would consider him to be a critic to watch. It should be fun tracking his career, especially if it continues to rise.
I came across a particularly interesting review of District 9, written by a reverend named Robert Barron. Published for WordOnFire.org, Fr. Barron brings up an interesting interpretation of the film’s main conflict between the aliens and humans, referencing such philosophers as Hegel and Levinas. Without giving anything away, the philosophical relationship that is introduced is one of the most valid that has been mentioned in any review about the film I have yet read. It is worth a good, contemplative look, and instantly makes Fr. Barron a reviewer to keep an eye on.
Also, if you haven’t already, check out our review of District 9 here.