Instead of making coffee and odd music, isn’t it time David Lynch got back to what he does best?
Eight years is a long time. If you don’t believe me, think back to what you were doing in 2006 and you will realise how much you’ve done and how much you’ve moved forward with your life. Well, hopefully. It’s not my fault if you are still listening to Orson and watching repeats of the first series of Heroes. The reason I dwell on the eight year gap is because this is the time that has lapsed since surrealist master David Lynch last made a full length movie. Inland Empire, which featured Lynch regular Laura Dern, was well received by most critics, even though it once again raised the classic Lynch associated question of: “What does it all mean?”
Lynch has created a body of work that’s not only earned him critical and commercial success, but also a new word to clarify his style
Lynch, over a period of 25+ years of filmmaking, has created a unique body of work that has not only earned him critical and commercial success, but also a new word to clarify his style. ‘Lynchian’ describes something “Where the macabre and mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” From Eraserhead to Blue Velvet to the modern classic that is Mulholland Drive, Lynch has always played with the audience’s imagination by not following natural structure or plot lines and instead leaving us to make up our own theories on what we have just witnessed. The majority of his characters are grotesque versions of everyday people.
When we go the cinema to watch a movie, it is a form of release which many of us revel in. There are a number of ways in which Lynch’s films play on this idea of escapism. His characters usually lead average, run of the mill lives and long for something more. They then seek this thing that they are lacking by trying to access an unfamiliar world that puts them out of their comfort zone. This is true of Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet – once he finds the ear in the field, he has to see the mystery through to the end. Even when he becomes embroiled in the dark, sexual underworld that he discovers, he still cannot help enjoying being a part of it.
Maybe this is why we as an audience love Lynch’s films so much. They allow us access to a variety of different worlds and sides of human nature that we would never have the audacity to enter into in our own lives. Instead of just dipping our toes in the water, we are thrown head first into an ocean where weirdness rules the waves. The most hated storytelling cliché of them all is that the main character wakes up and it has all been a dream. Yet, when watching Lynch movies, you’re never quite sure whether a character is trapped in a fantasy or experiencing something that is really happening, and this adds to the thrill of our watching experience.
Lynch’s second album, The Big Dream, was released in 2013 and is as weird and trippy as you’d expect. Is it any good? Not really
The idea of this blurred line between realism and fantasy is something that often drives Lynch’s unorthodox storytelling. In Eraserhead, main character Henry Spencer has a variety of horrific dreams that are founded in his fear of fatherhood and his mutant child. Similarly, one of the police officers in the diner at the beginning of Mullholland Drive talks of a terrifying dream sequence that he had in the setting where he’s now situated. Also, in a brilliant scene in Blue Velvet, the character known only as Ben performs a haunting version of Roy Orbison’s classic, In Dreams. Once again, as an audience we are confused as to why this is happening, yet somehow it works, and the scene has now earned legendary status alongside the disturbing sado-masochistic sequence in Dorothy’s apartment.
So just what has Lynch been doing in the eight years since Inland Empire? Well, apart from making a number of short films, he’s been making music and making coffee. His second album, unsurprisingly called The Big Dream, was released in 2013 and is as weird and trippy as you would expect. Is it any good? Not really. It’s a bit like Lou Reed’s album with Metallica – you really want to like it, but you just can’t. David Lynch’s coffee, Signature Cup, is something I would most definitely like to try at some point, though at a starting price of £21 I doubt they will be stocking it at Aldi any time soon.
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Another project that seems to have cooled at least for now is a follow-up to Twin Peaks. In January, talk had been rife that new footage was going to be shot, but it seems this was just people getting too excited about a new Blu-Ray edition of the cult series. For me, a project that would be a good fit for Lynch is the upcoming film based on Kanye West’s recent album, Yeezus. I can hear a collective groan as I write this, but please hear me out. The screenplay is being penned by Bret Easton Ellis, who agreed to do it once he had heard an advance copy of the album. As much as people think that West is an arsehole, there is no doubt that Yeezus was one of the best records of 2013.
The weirdness that Lynch brings to film has been missed. We all want to go to the cinema and escape into another dream
Lynch himself has said that he loves the track Blood On The Leaves, and it’s almost certain he would be able to add his influence to a film that already seems to be shaping up to be something special. Plus the task of making a music-based film would challenge Lynch in a way he hasn’t been tested before. Yes, we could end up with a Purple Rain, but we could also end up with a Walk The Line or a Control. Whatever he chooses to do next, fans worldwide will be delighted to dive down the Lynchian rabbit hole once again. The weirdness that Lynch brings to film has been missed in an age of ridiculous-budget blockbusters and too many remakes of superhero movies. We all want to go to the cinema and escape into another dream, another underworld of human nature. Let’s hope it’s not too long before Lynch puts us to sleep once again.
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Featured image: 518 Media
Inset images: Paramount; Universal