Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Addendum to that similarly-titled previous post: Okay, now I am actually done with this thing. This Twin Peaks thing. Feels good. Feels like I’ve accomplished something. And been totally mind-fucked and terrified in the process. Thanks, David Lynch!

I had heard such bad things about this movie that I had pretty low expectations for it. By that rationale, it greatly exceeded those expectations! Huzzah. Then again, when Chris Isaak and David Bowie are inexplicably involved in something, I have a hard time being opposed to it. Nevermind that Isaak’s cop character was charming but useless and Bowie’s whatever he was was utterly confusing. Anyway, these two were in the boring part of the movie (read: the part that happened before all the people I know and love came back, and the signature song kicked in).

It was good to see the gang again, even after such a short break, and even for such an abbreviated reunion. Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle “The Mayor” MacLachlan) was barely in the movie, though at least he didn’t pull a Sherilynn Fenn or Lara Flynn Boyle and ditch altogether. They were missed, for sure. Moira Kelly, though, did a pretty convincing job of picking up the Donna slack. And I really enjoyed learning a bit more about James (James Marshall) and Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and how their high school debauchery intersected with Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee). And, in the end, Lynch gives us enough evidence to use to hate Leo (Eric Da Re), in case those last few episodes of the show provided a disturbing counterargument. (Which they did. For me.)

Fire Walk with Me is a bundle of fascinating contradictions. It fills in about 75% of the Laura Palmer-related blanks, thus enhancing the story of Twin Peaks, yet none of the movie is necessary at all. The show stands alone with its loose ends and mysteries, for the most part. The character of Laura Palmer is so incredibly intriguing in the show that, of course we’d want to know more about her in a movie. But the character in the movie is kind of a huge bitch. She’s that popular girl who’s both an enigma and an emotionally-draining wreck with no sense of how real human interactions should occur. She uses everyone around her to fuel her drug habits, her bad behaviour, and her generally risky business. It’s hard to feel sorry for her.

Except, wait! Her dad is possessed by a demon person! Bob terrifies me like few other villains have. Still. He climbs in Laura’s window at one point during the movie, and this is basically eternally haunting to me now. Thank goodness I do not live on the ground floor of my building. I’ll keep mum about the rest of that scene, because it’s genuinely disturbing, and more effective as a surprise, but suffice it to say that unchanging facial expressions cut much deeper than any gory makeup ever could. I found it difficult to actually let myself be scared of Bob, because I’m so used to laughing off the absurdity of other bad guys. Laughing at Bob just made him creepier.

I also found myself wondering why this Bob person, or being, or whatever he is, chose to invade the Palmers. Why he found Leland Palmer (Ray “crazy eyes” Wise) such an amicable host, what was happening in Leland’s life that made him an easy target, why Laura and her father had such an awkward relationship, if Bob caused the souring or if it happened long ago? Does Bob represent some larger idea? Should we not do drugs? Should we feel societally freer to daydream? Should we never trust our parents?

All of the above. There’s probably another option we don’t know about, too. That’s the Lynchian way.

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