Lost Highway starts out as a near great film. Lynch hooks one with the bizarre goings-on the series of videotapes that keep intruding further and further into Bill Pullmans life. And there is an amazing sequence where Bill Pullman encounters white-faced Robert Blake at a party Blake insists they have met before, Pullman says he doesnt think so, Blake says it was at Pullmans house and as a matter of fact Im there right now and pulls out a cellphone to prove the point, getting Pullman to dial his home number whereupon Blakes voice tells him I told you so. Lynch evokes an sense of unbearable ominousness throughout. The scenes in Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquettes apartment with its bare modernist walls, low lighting and patches of heavy shadow evoke a sense of dread out of which it seems anything might emerge.
Thereafter however David Lynch loses the plot altogether. Quite literally. Lost Highway becomes a completely different film. Bill Pullman is jailed for murder and inexplicably changes into Balthazar Getty and the film takes up a new plot altogether. Everything regarding the murder of Patricia Arquette and the mystery man videotaping things is dropped completely. Lost Highway then turns into what starts to seem like a film noir piece with Balthazar Getty becoming involved with mobster Robert Loggia and conducting an illicit affair with Loggias girlfriend (who is also played by Patricia Arquette) and becoming drawn into her plot (which may not be all it seems) to do someone in and steal money so they can run away together. Lost Highway could almost be called David Lynchs version of Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo (1958) if one can accept a Vertigo where the film is not concerned whether the two women are the same or not, and where the hero and the entire plot change at the same time! Lost Highway has all the elements for a classic film noir thriller only David Lynch doesnt seem interested in the thriller aspect of it. At the point where Balthazar Getty and Patricia Arquette become involved in the murder, any other film would have used the opportunity to start putting the screws on an audience but Lynch is not even interested in what happens and heads off into baffling incomprehensibility.
As to the ending, what is going on could be anybodys guess even Lynchs, he having admitted he is as baffled by what the film means as the audience. The trouble with David Lynch is that his last few directorial efforts the final episode of Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,this and the subsequent likes of Mulholland Dr. (2001) and Inland Empire (2006) show him charting a clear course away from anything approaching narrative coherence into a violent, intensive and chaotic surrealism. Unfortunately, none of it appears to mean anything. One has no problem with surrealism but surrealism usually means something either in terms of shock juxtaposition of imagery or a connecting symbolism that lies beneath the surface. Or else it leaves one dazzled at its daring in leaving things unexplained, as in Blow Up (1966) or The Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975). There are no films that are more daringly incomprehensible than Lynchs own Eraserhead (1977), but the brilliance of Eraserhead was not its confusion but rather its creation of a world of seeming dream logic and a self-contained universe that made its own sense. Surrealism usually signposts what it is doing if it confuses, it achieves brilliance by signposting its defiance of traditional expectations of plot coherence. Lost Highway on the other hand is none of these. It is like a roomful of staircases all leading nowhere.
David Lynchs other films are Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), Blue Velvet (1986), Twin Peaks (1990), Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), The Straight Story (1999), Mulholland Dr. (2001) and Inland Empire (2006). Lynch has also produced other genre films such as The Cabinet of Dr Ramirez (1991), Nadja (1994), Surveillance (2008), My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009) and Black and White in Colors (2010), as well as two short-lived surrealist tv series with On the Air (1992) and Hotel Room (1993).
(Winner for Best Director (David Lynch), Nominee for Best Actor (Bill Pullman), Best Actress (Patricia Arquette) and Best Cinematography at this sites Best of 1997 Awards).