After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesic (Laura Harring), she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful (Naomi Watts) search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

4.5

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The film begins with a woman, played by Laura Elena Harring, in danger. She's about to be murdered in the limo in which she's being driven high in the Hollywood Hills when she makes a miraculous escape and, crossing Mulholland Drive, finds her way to an apparently empty apartment. Meanwhile fresh-faced Canadian actress-in-the making Betty Elms, Naomi Watts, arrives in Hollywood determined to make the big time. The house where she's staying is the same house where the other woman, who has lost her memory but who calls herself Rita when she sees a poster for the Rita Hayworth film, Gilda, is hiding. The sweetly naive Betty decides to help Rita discover who she really is, a mystery which leads her into some seriously strange and unexpected directions.

David Lynch is the most idiosyncratic director working in America today, and Mulholland Drive is one of his finest achievements, up there with Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and the early Twin Peaks episodes. If the story starts as a gripping, well constructed mystery, involving a Hithcockian blonde innocent, superbly played by Australian actress Naomi Watts - and a femme fatale, it eventually becomes something much darker, more mysterious and more tantalising.

The film started out as a tv series which was rejected by the American ABC and, after some delays, was turned into a feature film thanks to support from French production companies. That explains the fleeting appearances of some characters, like Robert Forster's detective, who was presumably originally to have been a recurring character in the series. But these elements only add to the Lynchian feel of this genuinely original and creepy film, which is full of great scenes - Watts' audition sequence is a knockout - and characters.

Veteran Ann Miller, best known for her singing at dancing at MGM, plays a Hollywood landlady with great style, but the real star of Mulholland Drive is Lynch and his extraordinary vision of the world.