The Best Films of the Decade: #9 02/20/2010
The first decade of our young century has come to a close. During that time the world around us has changed rapidly, and cinema has changed with it. Mainstream filmmaking continues to go down a dark path, moving ever closer to an event-style industry with no perception of "art". Meanwhile the cinema is ennobled all over the world by artists who reject or beat the studio system. As strong as ever, if you look in the right places, the art form thrives. For the next 10 days, I'll be counting down the 10 greatest films of the decade...
Directed by David Lynch
Showing up on many-a-decade list is David Lynch's greatest achievement, Mulholland Dr. It's on my list, among other reasons, for being one of the most purely entertaining films of the last ten years. It's one of those films where you hang on every moment from beginning to end. This effect is thanks to David Lynch's approach to crafting a mystery, which instead of following the traditional Hollywood definition of mystery, follows the actual definition. In Hollywood we are used to mysteries being formulaic whodunits, and when typical audiences are confronted with this movie they get kind of confused, "I don't get it!" or "It's impossible to figure out!". Well guess what, the dictionary's definition of the word mystery is as follows: "something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain." It seems, to my mind, that David Lynch has made one of the only authentic mysteries of the cinema (Last Year At Marienbad being one of the other films to come to mind).
Mulholland Dr. is a poisonous valentine to Hollywood, condemning the typical "dreams come true" message. Most of the film is a dream that eventually falls apart later in the film, revealing harsh reality. Along the way are wonderful touches of humour and suspense, but perhaps most notable is that the film contains Lynch's most human moments on film. The romance between the two leads evokes a genuine sense of longing, and the masterful sequence in Club Silencio is as affecting as any scene of the decade. While I think the film does add up to something quite clear and coherent, there is no denying that is as mysterious as anything committed to celluloid.