The movie I just saw would be terribly out of place or too weird for all but two directors: Darren Arinofski and David Lynch. Well, as it just so happens, Lynch films are so messed up, that this is the most normal and sane film that I have seen out of him (Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive are the others that I have seen from him and I plan to watch The Elephant Man soon). But as it is right now, David Lynch films that I watch are becoming progressively more normal. I started with Eraserhead which was just FUBAR, I moved on to Mulholland Drive which was still FUBAR but much less so. This one is really really messed up but not as mindf*** as Eraserhead and Mulholland were.
Acting/Characters: Well Dennis Hopper is clearly the dominant personality in this film. he has probably about 20 minutes of total screen time but he dominates the whole film. The rest of the characters and actors did well overall. They didn't come close to Hopper though. How could they have? It was pretty solid overall. 9/10
Plot: Typical sort of Lynch plot, mess with your mind. This one is less so than others of course. But it, like all Lynch films, is showing the underbelly of things and it is very dreamlike while doing that. No Lynch film that I have seen is happy. It's always dark. Lynch films are things that you would see in a nightmare. Frank Booth is so evil that he wouldn't be out of place in a nightmare. The business of Lynch is dreamlike films and he does his business. Having said that, the plot of this film is pretty straightforward. It's not like Mulholland Drive where people have to dissect each scene and try to find out what order to put them in of Eraserhead where people are still trying to find out the plot and Lynch won't tell us because he 'hasn't heard an interpretation that matches with his own' The plot is pretty simple in of itself. Now, there are many many aspects of the plot that can be delved into deeper but if you know nothing about film you can follow what's going on. I liked that. I didn't dislike the mindf*** of the other two but it's nice to know that Lynch can do a more straightforward film but still keep the dreamlike quality. 9.5/10
Screenplay: Good screenplay. There weren't any lines that I rolled my eyes with and there weren't any ones that I would add to my list of favorites. However there were lines that disturbed me. It's Lynch. There have to be a few dozen lines that disturb you. I have to imagine that he writes these movies himself. He does well. 9/10
Likableness: with a Lynch film, you don't go into it with the same mindset as you would going into a film like Anchorman or The Hangover. You don't go to Lynch films to be entertained you go to think. You go to try to understand what he is trying to say. You go to have your mind blown. You can't begin to respect him as a film maker if you don't know what you are getting into with his films. I didn't know what I was getting into with Eraserhead and it took me 2 views to begin to like it. Once I understood his style I began to like his movies. I liked this one. It had his unique, and probably never replicated, style with a good plot that it is easy to follow on the surface. he still has some incredibly messed up plot details and characters though. 9/10
Final Score: 36.5/40 91% (N)
TRIVIA TIME: 1. Contains several references to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Jeffrey Beaumont is warned not to go to Lincoln Street, where Deep River Apartments are located. Frank Booth's name evokes John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. A man is shot through the head much the same way Lincoln was. References to Lincoln's assassination appear in Mulholland Dr. as well - the blue haired lady sits in the balcony in the same position as Lincoln did in the Ford Theater.
2. The character of Frank was to breathe helium at various intervals in Lynch's original script, but Dennis Hopper suggested this be changed to amyl nitrate which he knew was used to enhance sexual experiences. Hopper only realized years later how bizarre the concept of a helium-breathing maniac talking with a high voice was. Lynch, however, felt that using helium might result elicit laughter in the audience which would have been undesirable.
3. In an interview, Dennis Hopper claimed that writer/director David Lynch would never say the word "f***" during filming, he would simply point to the line in the script and say "that word". Hopper laughed, saying "He can write it, but he won't say it. He's a peculiar man." Lynch has said this isn't exactly true, but he didn't want to charge the atmosphere anymore than it already was.
4. Several of the actors who were considered for the role of Frank found the character too repulsive and intense. Dennis Hopper, by contrast, is reported to have exclaimed, "I've got to play Frank. Because I am Frank!"