A first watch of Mulholland Dr. results into the following: A head scratch, confusion, brainstorming, realization, acceptance. Only after you accept that what you have watched is nothing short of a miracle, you go for a second watch, to appreciate the nuances, to laud at the filmmaking, the editing, the performances and to glean some sense out of the cerebral and haunting piece of cinema.
Not since Tarkovsky’s shocker of a film ‘Zerkalo’ has a film incited more discussions about its themes. A film that is discussed even today, around 15 years after its release and yet, not every question about the film has been answered. ‘Mulholland Dr.’, quite simply, offers the greatest cinematic mystery of all time.
In this article, we try to explain the major questions that you might have had and its various interpretations.
Now, at its surface and stripping the film down to the most banal meaning, ‘Mulholland Dr.’ is a movie about a struggling Hollywood actress, period. That much is evident in the first few shots of the movie. But therein lies the genius of David Lynch. It is like a perfect starter to a sumptuous main-course.
Is the first two-thirds of the film fantasy or reality? Who is actually Diane Selwyn?
The most obvious explanation of the movie is that the actress Betty is actually Diane Selwyn. The first two-thirds of the film is actually a perfect fantasy that is created by Betty (Diane) played by Naomi Watts. In the real world, she is depressed, washed up and suicidal. She wants to escape the piercing barbs of Hollywood, but she is sinking further and further, unable to cope with her failures.