Lost Highway

Director: David Lynch
Screenwriters: Barry Gifford, David Lynch

Institute History


Lost Highway is a film experience unlike any other I can remember. It is intensely cinematic and vivid, yet absolutely elusive and ephemeral. But what else does one expect from the creative imagination of David Lynch?

Lost Highway is set in a stormy city suspiciously like Los Angeles, but it’s actually only a place from Lynch’s subconscious. The film draws its plot, or rather plots, from classic film noirs filled with desperate men and faithless women, expensive cars, and cheap motels. Bill Pullman is a jazz musician, obsessed with his wife’s (Patricia Arquette’s) fidelity, who suddenly finds himself accused of her murder. Then we meet a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty), who is slowly entangled in a web of violence, temptation, and deceit by a mysterious seductress (also played by Arquette) and a maniacal gangster (Robert Loggia).

Having Arquette play both roles is not the only aspect of this film’s narrative logic which is difficult to interpret. In many ways, Lost Highway is an unfolding dream which can be analyzed but never completely known or explained. A man who turns into another, a woman who may be dead but seduces the man who may have murdered her, a phone call whose recipient is also its sender: This is film which offers no certain code to decipher its events and which probably has no single meaning. But it is also a film which is stunning, completely engrossing, and stimulating on multiple levels.

Lost Highway is a superb vision which remains imprinted on you for days after you see it. It has a magnificent sound track and a terrific cast and production team. Lost Highway is an answer to those who proclaim that cinema has ceased evolving and achieving new standards of aesthetic greatness.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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